Farmer Jane, Farmer Jenny

Congratulations to Olivia Sargent, Athens good food instigator and co-proprietor of Farm 255 and the new Farm Burger in Decatur, Georgia. Temra Costa profiles Sargent in her new book, Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat, illustrating how women in agriculture have moved beyond the kitchen and hen yard to become major trendsetters and entrepreneurs in the new sustainable farming paradigm:

Women are passionate advocates for sustainable food and farming and have been changing the way America eats and farms for decades. Farmer Jane tells 30 such stories of some exceptional women leaders that are working on this change by farming, educating, advocating, and/or transforming how we eat through their food businesses.

But it’s not just about being a woman. (Stay with me here.) It’s about the impact that femininity has in changing businesses for the better. Women lean towards relationships and long-term strategies that prioritize future generations, and the good news is that this viewpoint is starting to become valued in the emerging green economy.* It’s all about systems thinking and perspectives of what the new (triple) bottom line should be – that of environment, people, and prosperity (health, and economic). Beyond their role in shifting business, women are raising the next generation of leaders, of farmers, of gardeners, of aware human beings that will care for this place long after we’re gone.

Costa also has a talk radio show in San Francisco on sustainable food and farming called The Queens of Green, which is certainly worth a listen.

Farm Burger

Not to take anything away from Olivia Sargent, who deserves every single plaudit–she is, however, from Marin County, California originally. While that doesn’t disqualify her from reaping acclaim for her work in the Athens community, it also underscores once again the need for and lack of homegrown movers and shakers in the Southeast.

So let’s go boys and girls, girls and boys.

*Speaking of relationship-building and long-term strategies, my mother and I just had a conversation about how women utilize entirely different and more efficient management techniques than men. She finds that the latest, hottest book on successful personnel management, written by men, usually present “groundbreaking” approaches that most women would find intuitive, such as–get this–communication.

3 thoughts on “Farmer Jane, Farmer Jenny

    • Tammy,

      I was up late last night watching a documentary on the Navajo, so this is coming from left field. But it got me thinking how different our gender relations and behavior might be were we to pass down land from mother to daughter, too. Or better yet, like the Hopi, to think of ourselves as protectors of nature (and all people) rather than extractors.

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