Ring in 2019 with a national network of women farmers in San Diego
As we head into the winter season, this time of year ushers in space for reflection and big picture thinking on where we see both our farm businesses and lives overall heading into 2019. A unique opportunity for women farmers to do just that is at the annual National Farmers Union Women’s Conference coming up January 13 through 17, 2019 in San Diego, California.
Thanks to continued generous support from the Wisconsin Farmers Union, women farmers once again have the opportunity to tap into scholarship funding to cover the conference costs. WFU scholarships will cover up to $1,000 in travel and registration fees and four scholarships will be awarded. The application is due to the WFU state office by this Saturday, December 1.
The 2019 conference speaker line-up includes a diverse crop of perspectives, including Wisconsin’s own Patty Edelberg, National Farmers Union Vice President, Kriss Marion of Circle M Farm and yours truly.
Because of WFU’s long-term commitment to scholarship funding to this conference, Wisconsin has racked up a strong group of “Wisconsin alumni,” women farmers who have attended the NFU Women’s Conference in the past and continue to benefit from this event. As a uniquely women-focused venue, the idea sharing and impact of this gathering produce positive ripple effects long after those couple of days in San Diego.
Need more inspiration to connect with over one hundred Farmers Union members from across the country who share our Wisconsin passion for stewarding the land, championing family farms and building community? Read on for some Wisconsin women’s own words on how the National Farmers Union Women’s Conference continue to impact their lives back home:
“The NFU Women’s Conference was a very uplifting experience. It helped me gain knowledge and confidence for taking over the family farm without having prior knowledge in farming. The event also helped me gain a network of women from my own state who were also at the conference.”
Laura Lee, Sacred Sparrow Farm
"The 2018 NFU Women's Conference was a sunny highlight during a cold January in the Midwest. My 18 year old daughter paid her own plane ticket and joined in on the conference. She was so inspired by the ladies she met and had conversations with. The group was wide ranging in age, geographic locale, type of farm and political persuasion but all were engaged, friendly and shared common values. A great experience you cannot replicate on through webinar or online portals!"
Mariann Holm, Organic Farmer in West Central Wisconsin
“The women’s conference speaker line up included experts on marketing, running for political office and sharing our story with specific help in social media. I gained advice at the conference that I still draw on today. ‘Write your newsletter specifically to your ideal customer.’ ‘When women run, they win.’ And ‘when we share our story, we share and grow our farm.’ This advice has helped me gain and retain customers, hone my own story and feel brave enough to share it and step further into the activist limelight as I lobby for Farmers Union and considered a run for county supervisor last year.
This trip was the jumping off point for me in terms of Farmers Union involvement. I was inspired to apply for the Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) and spent the next year traveling with NFU as a result. The Women’s Conference was the first time I put my toes in the Pacific Ocean and the first time I ever traveled by myself. It was the first time I had been away from my family which felt giant due to being the major caregiver to not only my kids but my husband who’d been a cancer survivor of just two years at that point.”
Alicia Razvi, Wooly Thyme Micro Farm
“I so enjoyed us woman gathering in a safe and neutral space. The weekend provided lots of opportunities to get to know other states and their farm focuses. Some of our missions where very different and worth learning about. Some folks had the very similar concerns regarding their community and their farmhood. Great sunsets too!”
April Prusia, Dorothy’s Range
And of course, what’s better than trading a few Wisconsin January days for some time on the San Diego beach to ring in the New Year? Download the simple scholarship application here and be sure to e-mail to the WFU state office by December 1.
Lisa Kivirist and her family run Inn Serendipity Farm and B&B in Wisconsin, completely powered by the wind and sun. Lisa is a Senior Fellow, Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems for the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Minnesota and is the author of Soil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers and co-author of Homemade for Sale, Farmstead Chef, ECOpreneuring and Rural Renaissance with her husband, John Ivanko. She is treasurer of the WFU South Central Chapter.