Soil Sisters: Come Unity: A call to build community

We don’t hear with our toes and see with our fingers. We don’t smell with our backs or taste with our knees. We don’t listen with our elbows. Our sense of touch varies throughout our body – what’s too hot or too cold for one part is just right for another, and this strange sense that tells us where our body is in space cannot be located in any one part. . But somehow our brain integrates all this information and allows us to move around the world safely, learning, doing, adapting to new and changing circumstances, as one body. unified.

A community is similar. We each experience the world a little differently and have different talents and skills. Some ask the big questions, others see the small details. We are leaders and followers, teachers and healers, protectors and explorers, farmers and mechanics, conservationists and miners, chefs and bankers, software and power engineers, artists and builders. Somehow, because of our diversity, we come together as one, as a community, and each individual is important.

Just as we learn to integrate information from different parts of our body, we learn to listen to different members of the community. We think about different viewpoints and how we feel about them, and decide whether they are relevant to our lives. We learn to work with those whose views and attitudes are not exactly our own. These experiences help us broaden our view of the world and appreciate different cultures and ideas, but they can also be uncomfortable and unsettling. That’s good. With each new person or idea we meet, we learn and grow, and we develop our own ability to deal with problems and adapt to changing circumstances.

We can build bridges, come together and create communities wherever we find ourselves. Farm families who are in their 4th, 5th or 6th generation on the same farm can be open and welcoming to those who have just learned to become farmers or who come from different places. We can learn from those who have practiced rotational grazing and organic vegetable production in Wisconsin for 50 years. We can learn from the newcomer from Thailand or India, Mexico or Pakistan, Nigeria or Afghanistan, who may or may not come from an agricultural tradition. We can also learn from the city dweller who moves to the countryside and decides to cultivate flowers or mushrooms or medicinal herbs. Those of us from elsewhere can adapt the cultures we know and love to a new environment, just as we ourselves learn to deal with the insects, diseases and weather conditions found here. Those with skills learned in the big city business world can teach their neighbors about Internet marketing, including festivals and live online sales. In the past two years, we have all discovered Zoom and Google Meet!

We can also bridge the so-called urban-rural divide. No matter where we live, we all want decent and affordable health care, good schools, affordable housing, safe streets and good jobs. Most of us are concerned about drug addiction, poverty, racism and crime. But are city dwellers, who have access to buses and taxis, aware that more than 40% of rural people want to have access to any type of public transport? Or that more people in rural areas want better internet connectivity and worry about their jobs than people in urban or suburban areas? By coming together, we can develop strategies to deal with these issues.

When community members bridge their differences, communities become stronger, more resilient, more able to respond positively to change, adversity or disaster. In order to build bridges, we need communicators and their outlets, such as radio, newspapers, television, churches, small or large groups, and online social media. While it’s easy to pay attention to those who share similar views, we grow when we’re open to listening and learning from others. Just as children become proficient at walking and talking, and gain the confidence to deal with life’s setbacks and new experiences, when individuals make contributions to their communities and build connections among members, our communities (small and large) gain in character, strength and resilience. . When people take a risk by attending a meeting with a new or different group of people, they can be ignored and marginalized, which can lead to isolation, resentment and anger. Or they can be welcomed and appreciated, and thus be able to help the group grow and achieve its goals and objectives.

When individuals and groups reach out, we find common concerns and we can find common ground to build relationships, build bridges, build community, come together in unity.

– Grace McLaughlin wore many hats on her journey from Washington to California, from Florida to Wisconsin. She has been a horse trainer, wildlife conservationist, farmer and candle maker. most of his jobs involved teaching in one way or another. She grows garlic on a micro-farm on a limestone ridge outside New Glarus and is co-chair of the Community Kitchen Cooperative in Monticello. Support local farmers through Soil Sisters, a campaign renewal program, connects and advocates for women in the Green County area engaged in sustainable and organic agriculture, land stewardship, local food, family farms and rural communities healthy and economically dynamic. For more information on the return of Soil Sisters Weekend August 5-7, see

Comments are closed.