After a conversation in fall of 2007 at Bioneers with publisher, Gibbs Smith, "Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat," is finally coming out. It's been a journey that has allowed me to talk to some of the most active, influential, and inspiring women that are changing how America eats and farms. This blog is dedicated to the theme of women in the sustainable food movement - heroes with shovels, wooden spoons, cameras, and pens - working for a different kind of food future. In addition to this inaugural post, a few exciting developments are in the mix:
1) The website - farmerjane.org - will be up in the next few weeks.
2) Planning, plotting, and networking for book release events. So far I'm helping plan a panel series at Commonwealth Club, a food and farming literary fest in collaboration with Eat Real, and numerous book readings throughout the Bay (Omnivore Books, Point Reyes Bookstore, etc).
3) "The Queens of Green," a new radioshow co-hosted by Deborah Koons Garcia and I will start on March 6. The show will run every Saturday morning (green960.com) and will be podcasted as well. A few of the first guests we're working on are Andrew Kimbrell and Raj Patel to cover GMOs and seeds - the theme of our show during March.
I've been blessed by book endorsements from the following people whom I admire. Paul Hawken says, "As night and day are fundamental to our survival, the leadership of women is absolutely essential if we are to have a livable and sustained planet earth. With respect to agriculture and sustenance, the 20th century has been called the 'locust years,' a time when the industrial logic of machinery and chemicals supplanted the mythos of life and stripped away complex webs of family farms under the moniker of husbandry. Farmer Jane heralds a growing "womandry" movement that restores people, place, and nurturance back into the heart of our culture. It is a scrumptiously written testament to the role of women in bringing back the life of our soils and daily fare— a roll call of pathfinders, a heralding description of how women are stepping forward to cultivate biological farming, vibrant communities, and meaningful livelihoods."
One of the most delightful advocates for sustainable food that I've had the pleasure to meet, Raj Patel, offers, "Personal, political, practical and powerful, Farmer Jane is beautiful field-guide to the future paths of the food movement. It works so well because it brings together everyone from farm worker organizers to fresh food activists and, with wit and wisdom, sparks the conversations and concrete actions that we'll need to transform our food system together. A wonderful book."
What book about women and food could be complete without a word by Alice Waters? Indeed, I nodded to her contributions to sustainable foods in the introduction, but as a woman that has been instrumental by increasing awareness of the farm to school movement all over the country, I am humbled by her words, "Temra Costa is a tireless advocate for small-scale and sustainable farming in California. It is through this work that she has met and worked with the collection of inspiring, unrelenting women featured in this book. Farmer Jane is a work about good stewardship of the land and it is a joy to see so many peers, collegues and friends honored in this wonderful anthology."
Tom Philpott of Grist and co-founder of Maverick Farms acknowledges the role of women in the food movement by saying, "The sustainable food movement is largely a women's movement--women run many of the farms, staff the non-profits, provide the vital intellectual and physical energy that propels the movement forward. This has been a largely untold story--and Costa has provided a critical corrective by documenting, at long last, to the massive contribution women have made to transforming our food system."
While all of these aforementioned super-stars have inspired me over the years, NPR's The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva), have taken investigative journalism, field visits, food and media to the next level with their "Hidden Kitchens" series. I feel all around honored that they love my book saying, "They say women hold up half the sky. They also hold down half the farms. Temra Costa's look at the growing sisterhood of women farmers and land activists is a revelation. Full of passionate, eccentric, off-the-chart kitchen visionaries, these resilient and outrageous women light the path for us to think about who is growing the food we eat and how they tend to the land and their communities. Even if you never thought of farming, or even gardening, it's full of tips on how to eat well, and make your community thrive."
I hope you'll enjoy the blog full of food, farming and activism, the book, and the events (if they happen to land where you live).