Thursday in the City- Farmer Jane


Last night, I attended a “Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat event presented by Kitchen Table Talks and CUESA at the Ferry Building. It was an interesting open panel discussion about the contributions of women farmers, producers, chefs, and food system activists. The panel consisted of three women: Temra Costa, author of the new book (already going into it’s second press after one month), Farmer Jane, along with Sarajane Snyder, a farmer from Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center and Laurne Kiino, a self taught chef from the local restaurant Il Cane Rosso. Dava Guthmiller, Slow Food SF president, moderated the group.

Questions from Dava and the audience brought up topics relating to the nurturing aspect of food, good food being more universally available, food safety outbreaks, food sheds, seasonal diets, the increase of women in non-profits, women being the household spenders, women’s work, and the ways women juggle food, home, family, and community and the conundrum it presents. The later is what has me struggling in my own personal life.
I want to eat local, organic and seasonally. So, I need to find recipes, take inventory, make lists, make menus, go to the Farmer’s Market, go the the grocery store, learn to cook, cook, store, repeat. (and that is without growing it!) It can be overwhelming especially if you are new to all of this. How do I do all this with a job? And just when I think I get the hang of it, the season changes and I have to start all over. I am assuming by this time next year it will be much much easier for me. This idea of needing to plan your meals is new because convenience food was always an option. The industrialization of food made it so that meals didn’t take time. I could grab a burger, open a can or bag, pop it in the microwave and eat when ever I wanted to. Now leaving that behind, it takes more effort. Learning tools like canning and preserving, general food storage, sharing with neighbors and friends can all make it easier and fun. Chef Laurne Kiino suggested learning the different cuts of meat and how to prepare them so you can save on pasture-raised meat costs. When am I going to do that?! I just need to be more patient and more creative, enjoy the process and will soon find my balance. It is already starting. When I can easily cook a meal from scratch with ease, and it tastes so fresh and good, I couldn’t be happier. I have new veggies and herbs I cook with now and love. So, look for some posting in the next few weeks about easing the planning aspect. If you have any ideas, please leave a comment!
A lot of recent events were mentioned, like how a cancer report (I don’t have which one) was released illustrating that we need a re balancing in our food system and how the Farm Bill 2012 and the government should move away from subsidizing corn, wheat and soy and move to more nutritious foods. Go to the Farmer Jane Blog for more info on other current influences.
The general atmosphere was very positive and forward thinking. It seems that ecology and food activism has become one movement. Without clean air and water and fertile soil, we won’t have food. More advocacy needs to be done. As I am realizing, the movement is learning how. How do we come back from being liberated from the kitchen for jobs to going back to growing as a way of life? How do we have food not be owned by some corporation? How can I afford this food? We are all empowered to do something about it. We need to grow it, share with our neighbors and reconnect people with the land. Looking for ways to start? In Temra Costa’s book, “Farmer Jane”, you will find stories of 30 women activily involved in our food system.
A bit about the book and a listening schedule for a radio show from

Women are passionate advocates for sustainable food and farming and have been changing the way America eats and farms for decades. Farmer Jane tells 30 such stories of some exceptional women leaders that are working on this change by farming, educating, advocating, and/or transforming how we eat through their food businesses.But it’s not just about being a woman. (Stay with me here.) It’s about the impact that femininity has in changing businesses for the better. Women lean towards relationships and long-term strategies that prioritize future generations, and the good news is that this viewpoint is starting to become valued in the emerging green economy. It’s all about systems thinking and perspectives of what the new (triple) bottom line should be – that of environment, people, and prosperity (health, and economic). Beyond their role in shifting business, women are raising the next generation of leaders, of farmers, of gardeners, of aware human beings that will care for this place long after we’re gone.This book is not just a celebration of the profiled women, but of all women that vote for sustainability every time they shop, eat, farm, and advocate for change. The biggest hope for this book is that you’ll be inspired to do the same.

EVERY SATURDAY STARTING MARCH 6, 2010 – MARCH 5, 2011The Queens of Green
9:30 – 10:00 am, podcasted
Listen on-air or online at –

Dig in: “The Queens of Green” is a new show hosted by Deborah Koons Garcia and Temra Costa, two women who have been working in the world of food and farming for many years. They will feature some of the most compelling and engaged individuals from the Bay Area and beyond, people who are changing for the better the way we eat, farm, and live. Fierce, fiery, and fun, these women and their guests will bring information and inspiration to your Saturday morning table.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email