“ I want something else, a different system entirely. One not seen on this earth for thousands of years, if ever. Democratic Womanism”… Alice Walker
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that 70% of the world is fed by women. According to Elizabeth Duke of the Federal Reserve, women are responsible for 93% of food purchases in the US. Half the restaurants in the US are owned by women. In the face of a steady decline of the number of American farms, the number of women farmers has doubled since 1978 and between 2002 and 2007 increased 30% according to the USDA Agricultural Census.
Women’s participation in the food system is undeniable and increasing. Do those statistics represent the potential of feminine power to fix a broken food system that fails the almost one billion people that go hungry world wide, that is a major contributor to water and air pollution, and a driver of the obesity and diabetes epidemics?
Is there an imbalance between masculine and feminine power that impedes a transformation to a more healthy food system? Does modern culture reward masculine ways like action, competition, and conflict in the extreme resulting in barriers to creating a food system that is physically nourishing and culturally nurturing?
Rha Goddess, in a Bioneers presentation on women’s leadership said, “We are committed to leadership that encourages the incorporation of creativity, wisdom and intuition, the goddess energy, the mother energy, the feminine energy.”
Recently Organic Valley, the largest organic farmers cooperative in North America, organized Women Share, a gathering of diverse women, both ethnically and professionally, from different segments the food system to explore ways to accelerate change toward a healthy, sustainable and just food system by surfacing the collective wisdom of women.
Nina Simons, Co-founder and Co-CEO of Bioneers, and founder of the Cultivating Women’s Leadership program talks about her experience at Women’s Share and the emergence and power of women’s leadership in the food system.