Networking Benefits Everyone
April 30, 2015
When I first moved to East Troy, I didn’t know the markets, vendors, or even other farmers. Having come from the Madison area and being involved in networking groups for farmers, especially beginning farmers, I quickly realized what I was missing. The comradery and emotional support you get from a group is invaluable. Whether it’s getting an order together to save on shipping, finding a great source for straw, or just commiserating at the end of a hard day, having someone who truly understands what you’re going through is a lifesaver! (Maybe sanity saver is more appropriate.)
This January we held our first potluck for SE Wisconsin Women in Sustainability at NuGenesis Farm in Oconomowoc. 10 members came with questions, ideas and amazingly delicious dishes to share! Sitting down at that first meeting and sharing where we were in our farming careers, what we hoped to gain from our involvement in the group and what we could offer to share via experience, connections, etc, was an inspiring experience.
We had our next potluck in April at Larryville Gardens in Burlington where another group of women, including lots of new faces, joined us to discuss “Growing Pains.” Some were wondering how to know when to scale up production and if it would be beneficial, while others were wondering how to just get started. Over delicious food, a couple glasses of wine and lots of laughs, the group discussed their dreams and difficulties. Other members chimed in with suggestions or ideas and we all got better acquainted.
Our next meeting in July will be held at Gateway College in Kenosha in their horticulture department. If you are interested in learning more please email me and we’ll get you on our listserve. As if all these benefits of networking weren’t enough, I recently had the pleasure of working with reporter Lori Rotenberk from Civil Eats. Here’s a link to her article. http://civileats.com/2015/03/30/women-farmers-potlucks/
Farming is a wonderful and rewarding career but it’s not all peaches and roses. Having and building a support group is one of the smartest things I’ve ever done! I’m so blessed to have such an amazing group here in SE Wisconsin and I thank them all for taking a chance and joining me on this crazy little project. I hope they are learning and growing as much as I am.