Women Stitching Mother Nature Back Together

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the annual WFAN conference, Woman Food and Ag Network. The first session I attended was the Plate to Politics Leadership Training. This was a valuable training focussed on our strengths as individuals and as women. They encouraged us to see ourselves as leaders and to fight the inner voices that often tell women that they aren’t good enough. We all took time to independently brainstorm about our individual strengths and worked together as a team to find strategies to broadcast these strengths. The speaker’s belief was that the overwhelming environmental crisis depends on woman to take political roles and to use our good strategizing and compromising nature to make change. I’m not yet convinced that a role in politics is my calling, but I am on board to continue a life fighting for environmental justice.


 The key note speaker, Dr. Robin Kimmerer, was a role model of mine in my last few years at college. I had read her books in one of my plant biology classes and was excited to hear her speak. She is an amazing woman who speaks on behalf of mother nature from a plant science background and as an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. It was a good reminder for me that I am not only teaching my students about fruits and vegetables, but I am also teaching them to love, respect and care for the earth.
braiding sweetgrass
I am currently reading one of Dr. Kimmer’s books, Braiding Sweetgrass. Two weeks ago with my FFI team, we had a workshop with Strength Finders. The Strength Finder’s philosophy is that when one focuses more on their strengths, they can lead a happier more productive life, in and out of the workplace. I came across a quote in her book that resonated well with this belief.



“The most important thing each of us can know is our unique gift and how to use it in the world. Individuality is cherished and nurtured, because in order for the whole to flourish, each of us has to be strong in who we are and carry our gifts with conviction, so they can be shared with others.”


Two of my top themes, or strengths, are positivity and adaptability. I certainly do not possess these two all of the time, but one cannot work with children without a good attitude and flexibility. Every time I am in the garden or in the kitchen with my students, I feel I am doing something important and contributing my part to make a better world.


Here’s to garden education and teaching our children about loving and caring for the earth.


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