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WI Organic Farmer Offers a Walk in Her Boots

June 29. 2011

SPRING VALLEY, Wis. - From sustainable farming to food-based business ventures, women-owned businesses are among the fastest-growing segments in agriculture.

The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service will present a series of day-long hands-on seminars for women this summer, led by Lisa Kivirist, who directs the Rural Women's Project.

"We have everything from value-added businesses - women who are doing jams and jellies, and making pizza with local food that they've purchased from area farmers - to women who are running grass-fed beef operations, to organic dairies, to produce, and lots of things in between."

One of the main challenges for women in sustainable agriculture today is maintaining connections by having a common forum - getting together at the same place and time, Kivirist says.

"That's when the real magic happens - when ideas start cross-pollinating and problems get solved. In many cases, new ideas, new businesses erupt entirely, just by having some time and physical space to be together."

The program is called "In Her Boots: Sustainable Farming For Women, By Women." Five dates have been scheduled in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Women don't have to be in an agricultural business right now to benefit from attending, Kivirist says.

"We found last year that over 60 percent of the women who attended our workshops through the Rural Women's Project hadn't started their business idea yet - hadn't started their business plan, had sort of "seeds of dreams." That's great. That's what we're trying to help support even further with these 'In Her Boots' workshops."

The $20 cost includes a day of hands-on, in-field learning sessions, lunch and snacks, Kivirist says. A schedule and registration information can be found on the Rural Women's Project web page, mosesorganic.org.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI