Yesterday, Women, Land & Legacy’s state team was fortunate enough to present at the 4th National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture: Cultivating our Food, Farms and Future. Held in Des Moines this year, Women, Food and Ag Network plays host for the three day conference that ends today. More than 450 female farmers and healthy food advocates from across the nation attended.
Women, Land and Legacy presented during a break-out session titled “Listen and Lead Small-Group Dialogue.” State team members joined together to present on WLL as a statewide, locally led program, its Listening Sessions, and actually demonstrated the small group process. Twenty four women were in the ninety minute session.
As our way to demonstrate the listening session process, and in keeping with the theme of the conference, we asked the women in our session three questions:
1) How do you cultivate sustainable agriculture in your community?
2) What has been your biggest challenge in cultivating your sustainable agriculture community?
3) What resources did you use to meet those challenges?
These questions provided a great dialogue for listening and learning from each other. Many questions were asked such as how they could bring WLL to their home state, what was the organization and role of the state team, and what types of topics do local teams choose for their meetings.
Attendees shared how they could use the small group process in their own communities. Many agreed that the process seemed great for groups where individuals don’t know and trust each other. One women’s notable comment was that, for her, listening is a way to show trust and respect for someone she doesn’t yet have a relationship with. It’s a way to build up trust and understanding.
As a member of the WLL state team in the session yesterday, the sharing of ideas, visions and challenges that all female pioneers in agriculture face, not just in Iowa but across the nation, was more that just a memorable experience; it was inspiring.
WFAN was created in 1997 by a handful of visionary women – pioneering female farmers and healthy food advocates around the nation. Since then, WFAN has grown to a national network of more than 3,200 women and men, dedicated to gender equity in agriculture and to supporting the growing number of women engaged in all aspects of sustainable agriculture – through networking, education, and leadership development.