Tag Archives: Women

Pick a Veggie, Pick a Winner – It’s Farmers Market Week!

If you’re the sort that plans ahead when you make your regular trek to the farmers’ market, here’s something to add to this week’s list – August 2-8 is the 16th annual Farmers Market Celebration (http://www.agriview.com/news/business/celebrate-national-farmers-market-week/article_071c18c9-d25d-5bc1-9570-b547f6d234b3.html

For farmers market regulars the celebration features a lively web-based contest to identify “the cream of the crop, the best of America’s farmers markets.” Before you restock the larder, take time to cast your vote for your favorite market at http://markets.farmland.org/?_ga=1.57656936.354048519.1438709167

Though shoppers may have their own enthusiastic responses, the Farmers Market Coalition answers the “Why” of farmers markets with a great graphic that depicts the ways in which farmers markets stimulate local economics, preserve farmland and rural livelihoods, increase access to fresh food, and support healthy communities. (http://farmersmarketcoalition.org/programs/national-farmers-market-week/) Lots of data to support the economic and health benefits of growing, buying and eating local!

The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/women-infants-and-children-wic) is a key player in the Farmers Market Celebration. Through the agency’s WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program — affectionately known as FMNP (http://www.fns.usda.gov/fmnp/wic-farmers-market-nutrition-program-fmnp) WIC participants are able to access locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs that promote the well-being and health of families. Last year 1.6 million WIC participants received FMNP benefits which surpassed $14.1 million in total revenue for participating farmers and farmers markets. Participants in the FMNP also receive nutrition education including how to best select, store and prepare the fresh fruits and vegetables purchased with FMNP benefits.

Since it’s already mid-week you may have visited your nearby farmers market already – if so, fix yourself a bowl of fresh fruit and relax while you cast your vote for the farmer who grew and marketed the nutritious treat. If you’re a weekend shopper, wish your vendor a happy Farmers Market Week and be sure to get her name right so you can later cast an informed vote for your favorite local grower.




MNopedia – An Evolving Encyclopedia of All Things Minnesota

Charles Van Doren once observed that “Because the world is radically new, the ideal encyclopedia should be radical too.”  MNopedia, the digital encyclopedia of all things Minnesota – significant people, places, and events – deserves the “radical” appellation on several scores.

A production of the Minnesota Historical Society and funded by a Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund grant, MNopedia is a work-in-progress.

The call is out for Minnesota scholars, librarians, teachers, history buffs and people with good memories to critique the Beta version of the resource that is currently available online. The whole production process is interactive.  Readers are actually encouraged to let editors know what else they would like to know about the publication’s content and format.

The technology itself is a matter of public discussion.  For example, editors write that “the Minnesota Historical Society has chosen to put MNopedia content into a flexible, standards-based database that’s query-able via APL. As a result, MNopedia content eventually can be used beyond this browser-readable Web site – in mobile apps, audience- or situation-specific products, as a component in other Web projects, in print publications, and more, whether these products are created by the Minnesota Historical Society or by other individuals or entities.”  Radical, huh.

Discussing their timeline, editors indicate that they are now in an “expanding” phase where they will “continue building on what we’ve learned from users and expand MNopedia.  We’ll add new features and consider new ways to deliver content. We’ll also explore content partnerships with other organizations, find more experts to contribute, and integrate new articles.”

The initiative to find more experts and integrate new articles involves a call for input.  Editors maintain “that’s what ‘beta’ is all about, after all…testing, improving and expanding a small working model.”  The MNopedia team invites ideas on eras and topics to cover next, features to add, contributors and more.

Presently the eras covered in the MNopedia begin before European contact, i.e. pre-1585, and continue through the new global age, 1980-present.  Topics included are African Americans, Agriculture, American Indians, Architecture, The Arts, Business and Industry, Cities and Towns, Education, Environment, Health and Medicine, Immigration, Labor, Politics, Religion and Belief, Sports and Recreation, Technology, Transportation, War and Conflict, and Women.

Predictably, several of my arbitrary searches dead ended.  Others led me to great articles by serious scholars who write for readers who thirst for good information,well written and comprehensible to mere mortals.

A check of recently added articles led me to an article on the early history of the Minneapolis Waterworks, another on the Origins of the School Safety Patrol (first in the nation) and a very helpful piece on the Mennonites of Mountain Lake.  Each was concise, readable and full of stuff about which I had wondered but never known.

Though “radical” may an overstatement – and politically problematic –  MNopedia is definitely not your grandparent’s encyclopedia.



Bonnie Watkins To Leave ED Position at Minnesota Women’s Consortium

Bonnie Watkins, long-time Executive Director of the Minnesota Women’s Consortium, announced today that she is leaving her position January 2` “right after our fabulous Celebration32 party on January 26.”  Watkins’ plan is “to take up once again a past career as freelance writer.”


Watkins has actually worked with MWC for much longer than her nine years as ED.  For 23 years prior to that she was a committed volunteer who played a major role in shaping and Consortium under the direction of her predecessors.


In her message to MWC members and friends Watkins writes, “I believe the Consortium is strong and ready to move forward, thanks to all of you.”  Details about the next steps for Watkins and for MWC will be forthcoming.



“Miss Representation” Explores Media Bias

“Miss Representation” is the next in the 2011 Women’s Human Rights Film Series sponsored by the Advocates for Human Rights in collaboration with The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library and Metropolitan State University.  The film is set for Wednesday, November 9, 7:00 p.m. at Metro State Founder’s Hall Auditorium, 700 East Seventh Street, St. Paul.


The film “uncovers a glaring reality in our society…how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in influential positions in America.”  It challenges the media’s limiting and often disparaging portrayals of women.  Included in the story are stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with influential women from Condoleezza Rice to Gloria Steinem.  The promotion material promises that “the film accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective.”


All of the films in the series are free and open to the public.  Sign language interpretation and other accommodations are available with advance notice.


Contact The Friends at friends@thefriends.org or 651 222 3242.  More information at www.thefriends.org.


Red Wing AAUW hosts premiere of documentary “Women Making Change”

Women Making Change, premiering this weekend in Red Wing, will make a change by telling the tale.  The documentary recounts the story of Minnesota women who have made a difference in the political arena.  The opening event is Saturday, September 24, 7:00 p.m. at the historic Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing, home of the key producer, former legislator Sandy Wollschlager.  The film and the event are sponsored by the Red Wing Branch of the American Association of University Women along with local sources including the Red Wing Area Fund, Husom & Rose Photographics., and the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Based on Goodhue County as a microcosm the film recounts the experiences of Minnesota women who have made change.  The Red Wing/Goodhue County area has elected women from both major political parties to state office;  it has also the home of the Prairie Island Indian Community which has elected women to leadership positions.

Those interviewed for the documentary include Audrey Bennett, President of the Prairie Island Tribal Council; State Representative Laura Brod; Lieutenant Governor Joanell Dyrstad; Secretary of State Joan Anderson Growe; Speaker of the House, Margaret Anderson Kelliher; policy analyst Hue Nguyen; U of M Professor Kathryn Pearson; Star Tribune political news editor Lori Sturdevant; community activist Linda Thielbar;  State Representatives Kathy Tingelstad; and Sandy Wollschlager.  The elected officials included in the documentary are no longer in office.

The evening’s event will feature several people who were involved in the project as well as a slide show of Goodhue County women in politics over the decade.  Top that off with music by the Hot Flashes offering music of the 50’s, 60’s and beyond, door prizes and a reception.

Twin Cities Public Television, producer of the documentary, will broadcast Women Making Change statewide after the premiere.

Tickets for the premiere are $15, $10 for students, available through the Red Wing Arts Association Depot Gallery or through AAUW members – or call 651 388 6478.

The REALLY big news in Windom Park is great good news relating to civic action and hazardous waste abatement.  Thanks to a cadre of Northeast residents, in particular four indomitable women, working with local officials and regulators, Interplastic Corporation has agreed to a $15,000 civil penalty and $263,800 in facility improvements for alleged hazardous waste violations.

Minneapolis Interplastic has operated in the residential Northeast neighborhood, near Johnson and Broadway, since 1969.  ( This is the befuddling cross section where drivers are probably more attentive to steering their way through the remnants of the abandoned Interstate 335 than to the industrial polluters.) With sites throughout the nation, including an affected site in Vadnais Heights, the company identifies itself as “an industry leader in thermoset resin, gel coat and colorant research, design and development.”

Interplastic Corporation is regulated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency which initiated enforcement action after hazardous waste compliance inspections by Hennepin County staff at the Minneapolis plant in September 2008 and March 2009 and by MPCA staff at the Vadnais Heights plant in mid-March 2009.  The charges against Interplastic and the changes already in place are spelled out in detail at the MPCA website.  There is also a good article and a photo of the four women by Randy Furst in the September 8 Star Tribune.

Meanwhile, residents of Northeast anticipate cleaner air, while the intrepid women who pushed for change have no doubt moved on to the next challenge facing the neighborhood.  They will be reporting to the community at the next meeting of Windom Park Citizens in Action, Tuesday, September 20, at the community center in Pillsbury School

First Person + Third Person = Second Person (FP+TP=SP)

My foment of the moment concerns personhood – my personal reflections on moving from “I” to “She” – as in when

  • The clerk asks my young colleague “What does she  think?” of the lumpy garment I’m not going to buy anyway since she obviously doesn’t know I’m there.” .  or
  • A stranger asks my adult son, “Would she mind if we…” when I’d be quite able to express my own opinion of their ridiculous idea, or
  • A casual companion inquires of a younger friend  “Did she know (x)?”  — which I probably did and wouldn’t admit if I did.

Yes, one option is to shop, eat, live, and otherwise do everything alone – the problem is that the unaccompanied TP can expect to be ignored altogether.  Alone or with others, the negative impact of categorization as an invisible Third Person (TP) does not sit well with this functioning, if aging, First Person (FP).  This attitude is exacerbated by the fact that TP status almost universally to grey-haired women, seldom to silver haired men.

For all my long life I have known women who exuded FP-ness well into their senior years.  They were vital parents and relatives, colleagues, and friends.    When the clerk or waitress nodded to my diminutive mother and asked me what she wanted, I bristled while my mom, the customer, glowered  in righteous FP defiance – and did not darken that door again. A commanding presence 5-footer my mother could quell a student uprising with a withering glance.  She and her friends were FPs long after their allotted time.

Today’s  FPs would re-rank them as de-facto TPs.  After all, thee FP’s have marinated all their lives in a tempero- and ego-centric environment ruled by “I”, “me” “mine” and “now.”

Eons ago, when we TP’s were in high school we learned about the Malthusian Theory.  I recall calculating at the time that my generation would need thinning out by war or pestilence.  The clear alternative, euthanasia, seemed in my youth an inevitable possibility for my generation   Now I reflect that relegation to TP non-status is a socially acceptable form of euthanasia – out of sight, out of mind.

When children need attention they act out, an appropriate model for TPers, I’ve concluded.  Though some folks, even English majors, find his message morbid, Dylan Thomas inspires me to embrace the liberating anonymity of Third Personhood when he writes for his father and for TPs of generations to come:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Sounds good to me.  And so I intend to rage against all manner of atrocities, including at random:

  • pig-headed elected officials who can’t think for themselves, much less the voters
  • rude bus riders
  • opinion leaders who aver that the cost of war has nothing to do with the cost of Medicare  the pompous media who ignore, distort, or fail to check the facts
  • traffickers- drugs, children, and more
  • religious leaders who distort history while they prey hapless laity
  • game-playing education institutions that rob but do not teach
  • polluters
  • those who deny global warning
  • individuals and institutions that fail to nurture the children and youth who will soon enough take the place of today’s FP’s
  • anything else that denies full humanity to others.

My hope is not so much as to rave and rage but to channel the energy.  My eyes aren’t so good anymore, but I still have a vision.  That vision rests on the hope that the FP/TP world will dissolve into a robust Second Person world of “we” and “us” and “our”.  Awareness of language is a necessary if insufficient first step in the right direction.