March 8th marks International Women’s Day and National Agriculture Day. They don’t run parallel. It’s not a coincidence to me. Women’s advancement connects directly into feeding our families and growing food.
Five generations ago, a woman in my family was a pioneer on the prairie, widowed, living in a sod house with seven children. She farmed and worked as a mid-wife for money. She didn’t just survive. She thrived. She advanced the next generation. Today my sister is her namesake. And we will always be thankful for Norwegian speaking Great-Great Grandma Kirsti’s pioneer example. My parents farm the land today that our family farmed five generations ago. Agriculture has advanced. Women have advanced, thanks to generations pushing forward.
Three generations ago a woman in my family left her family ranch on the North Dakota prairie, boarded a train for the east coast for an education and later returned home, divorced with two young sons. She finished her education. She married and had two more sons. She wasn’t perfect. But she paved a path for all four of her sons to be educated and build success for themselves. She didn’t just survive. She earned her master’s degree. She was a pioneer in early childhood education on one of the poorest Indian reservations in the country. She was eclectic, an original for her generation.
As a young child, I thought Grandma Dorothy was just downright awkward. But today, I recognize her as a pioneer. Reflecting back on her life has made me realize that my imperfections can work for good, even when the circumstances seem to work against you. And so I do the best I can with what I have, where I am, just as my parents always taught me to do.
I surround myself with women who inspire me.
I have learned from women who have been willing to tell their stories of loss, only to find triumph.
I have seen generations of women empower one another. Building on each other’s success, voices grow stronger.
Thank you for being a voice that inspires me. It’s the hundreds of blogs I have read, the strong women and men of my family, my friends that surround me, those that I only connect with online and those that I see at the grocery store that inspire me.
I live and breathe agriculture from my family to my career. It feeds my family. It’s the 98% of American farms that are family owned and operated that inspire me to share how our food is grown. But it’s the women that surround me that empower me to boldly share.
Who and what inspires you to share your passions?