Nourishing life, community, family, home.

Sisters of the Earth

It was soooo much fun to be surrounded by many, many intelligent, beautiful women who are dedicated to re-visioning how we inhabit our beloved Earth. Tugged along by my friend, Ann, I made my way back to the St.-Mary-of-the-Woods campus in July for a weekend of song, celebration, presentations, and deep conversations about the state of our world, women’s work within it, and how to create a new story. We were at the gathering of the Sisters of the Earth,  which happens every two years.

While there, I heard Nettie Wiebe, of La Via Campesina, fresh back from the Rio Summit. Nettie Wiebe, a farmer and philosopher from Canada, spoke eloquently about the place of action and the power of women gathering together to do the work that must be done. Women are the majority of “farmers” around the world. Women’s rights and food sovereignty are directly linked.

It was heartening to hear a nun stand up and point out that we are all peasants. We are all “of the land.” Isn’t it true. Much of the future of our world has to do with access to land to grow modest amounts of food for ourselves and for trade. My friend, mentor, and colleague, Peter Bane, has often said when we are teaching permaculture that, “We are all peasants. Some of us just don’t know it yet.”

Helena Norberg-Hodge spoke eloquently from her home, via Skype, about the need for women that are young and older to take action, as the middle-aged women are trying to feed and care for families, aging parents, and do the work of community in that way.

Carolyn Baker wow-ed us with her drumming and storytelling. She spoke about the need to develop inner resilience through creativity, culture, and intelligent preparation.

As a 30-something woman, I was delighted to be appreciated by dozens of older women–and to recognize those both my contemporaries and younger than myself. I am looking forward to the next conference in two years.


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