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Masters of Community

No matter where they live, FarmHers recognize the power of the people.

While traveling for my FarmHer work, I meet an array of women. Their stories and ways of life are as different as the parts of the country in which they live. 

Despite their differences, they also share countless similarities, including the power of community. Having a community – finding your place and your people – is a treasure, and FarmHers are rich in it. 

Take the Soil Sisters, for example. This group of female farmers in Wisconsin started with a farm-kitchen potluck among rural neighbors. They turned their love of farming and cooking into an annual festival that showcases family farms, local food, and farm-to-table restaurants.

Consider Heather Dineen, who lost her son in a farming accident. As a way of healing and helping others, she and her family started a day to memorialize people who have lost their lives in agriculture. 

Think about Marissa Shletzbaum, a young woman with Down syndrome who has flourished in a greenhouse business with her family, bringing her community together over something as simple as plants.

Then there is Wanda Shanks (pictured above). The 84-year-old cattle producer FarmHer from Tennessee lives the meaning of community.

When she’s not farming or celebrating with her small town of Buffalo Center at their monthly birthday dinners, you can find her on the wood-planked basketball court, where she has built a team of gold-medal-winning women who are repeat Senior Olympics champs. 

Despite their differences, FarmHer women are thriving in the communities they have built. Through their stories, I have gained a deeper respect for the value of community. Put yourself out there, connect over what moves you, find your people, and grow your own community!  

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