Posted on June 30, 2010 - by

Announcing our new, weekly blog series: “Women Nourish Us”

Just recently, the FRESH team learned that over 70% of our active supporters and fans are women. Even though the FRESH team is entirely comprised of women, I was still taken aback. And then again I wasn’t. A week after Lisa announced the statistic, it occurred to me that FRESH ought to pursue two things. First, we should share a diverse and inspiring message to our fans from women working in the sustainable food world. And secondly, we should honor women’s collective action and work through the telling of some exemplary experiences. I decided to make this happen by organizing a blog series, which I’ve called “Women Nourish Us.” This series was in no way meant to exclude. We value all of our fans immensely, and hope you enjoy this series regardless of your gender! (and look forward to more wonderful folks – men too – writing in with ideas they’d like to share with the FRESH audience!). The series is meant as a platform for sharing ideas, challenges, pleas, and visions. I was delighted to search out and invite the following ten women to participate. I’m certain you’ll find their projects, visions, and experiences of great interest. Please sign up for the RSS feed by clicking this icon or the same icon further down in the right column. Or, just come to our blog site often! A new post will be up every Wednesday, starting with the first post on July 7th, by Temra Costa, otherwise known to the world as Farmer Jane.

Without further ado, I introduce to you our wonderful “Women Nourish Us” bloggers.

Temra Costa is a nationally recognized sustainable food and farming advocate. Her recent book, Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat, is the culmination of the past seven years she has spent working to promote a more vibrant local food economy in California and beyond. In addition to the book, she has written for numerous publications on hot-button issues such as Farm to School, eating locally, food safety, and how to create regional food systems. Her previous role as statewide director of California’s Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign, and other positions held with Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), worked to engage stakeholders in our food system, from farm to fridge.
Temra works, cooks, gardens and writes in the East Bay of California. She’s a radio show co-host on Green 960 (, works as a food and communications consultant for various businesses, and speaks at events throughout the year.

Jeannie Benally is from Nenahnezad on the Navajo Nation in Fruitland, New Mexico.  She has three grown sons and one grand daughter.  Jeannie works as an extension agent under a USDA program “Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program”” through University of Arizona.  Her extension work is for the Navajo Nation in the northeastern portion of the reservation within the three states of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.  Her area of coverage includes 20 communities.  She holds a Masters of Arts in Agriculture Extension & Education and a Bachelors of Science in Animal Science from New Mexico State University.  Jeannie hosts two conferences per year:  Shiprock Agriculture Days and Fall Agriculture Seminar.  Currently, they are funded to do a research project entitled “”Model Farmer Dissemination Project”” of which 120 farmers were recruited and trained in pesticide management.  Half were the treatment group and the other half the control group.  Last year, she hosted the 1st annual Native American Women in Agriculture Conference.  Recently, we hosted the 2nd annual one.  She received funding to implement the Annie’s project, targeting 20 native women farmers to receive 6 weeks of intense training in the risk management areas of finances, human resources, legal, marketing and production.  Jeannie also works with the 4-H youth, ages 9-19.  Just this past weekend, they tagged in large animals for their local Fair.

Diane E. Fleet has been advocating for survivors of intimate partner violence for the past 15 years, the last 5 years as the Assistant Director of the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program (BDVP).  The program that she is most proud of is their Three Sister’s Project.  The Three Sister’s Project is a farming collaborative initiated by the BDVP with the support of its local sister partners – Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center (BRCC) and the University of Kentucky’s Violence Intervention and Prevention Center (VIP).  Three Sister’s creates a space for physical and emotional healing, community engagement, environmental stewardship, and entrepreneurial boldness. Diane’s hope is that the Three Sister’s will celebrate and build upon the strength and courage of the families they serve – and of equal importance that the Three Sister’s will help us reevaluate what we think we know about victims of violence.

Food and travel writer Pat Tanumihardja’s debut cookbook, The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook—Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens (Sasquatch Books) is a treasury of family recipes and stories spanning over a dozen Asian cultures. A former farmers’ market manager, Pat loves to shop at farmers’ markets and always incorporates fresh market picks into her cooking no matter the season. In addition, she comes from a line of excellent homecooks and picked up her culinary know-how from her mother Julia who co-owns Julia’s Indonesian Kitchen in Seattle. She enjoys sharing her culinary knowledge and believes that anyone can learn how to cook. “If I can teach my husband to stir-fry, you can learn too!” she says. Please visit:

Jacqueline Church is an independent food, wine & spirits writer whose work often focuses on “sensible sustainability” issues. She delights in helping people make practical choices to improve their lives and reduce their impact on the planet.  Her work appears in national and regional print media, including Culture: the World on Cheese and Edible Santa Barbara. She is a contributing writer to Nourish Network, writes the gourmet food column for Suite101, and publishes two blogs, The Leather District Gourmet and Pig Tales & Fish Friends. She’s the founder of Teach a Man to Fish and Teach a Chef to Fish sustainable seafood events that engage people in the work of making more sustainable seafood choices for their families and restaurants. She’s currently at work on her first book about heritage breed pigs and the farmers, chefs and artisans bringing them from farm to table. The working title is “Pig Tales: a Love Story.” She’s much happier now than when she was a lawyer, somewhat happier than when she was a consultant, and relieved to be rid of the pink slips or fear of them.

Carrie Oliver is the founder of The Artisan Beef Institute™ ( and owner of The Oliver Ranch Company™ ( Her mission is to transform beef and other meats from commodities to a more deeply appreciated food by leveraging a little known secret: the very best meats are like fine wines, they present a wide array of flavors and textures depending on the land, breed, diet, husbandry and the relative talents of the artisans who craft them. Beef has terroir. Often referred to as “The Robert Parker of Beef,” “The Meat Sommelier,” or more simply, “The Beef Geek,” Carrie asks a simple question: If Rutherford is famous for Cabernet Sauvignon and Carneros for Pinot Noir, why not similar appellations for beef? She hosts exciting educational Artisan Beef, Pork, Lamb, Poultry, and Goat tastings across North America and offers home tasting kits through her online marketplace, The Oliver Ranch Company.

Seattle-based Kim O’Donnel is a trained chef, nationally recognized online food personality and longtime journalist.  She is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education and The University of Pennsylvania.  Formerly of The Washington Post, she has also written for Real Simple, Huffington Post, True/Slant, CivilEats and  She is a regular contributor to Culinate, where she hosts a weekly chat.  In her work, she combines reportage and analysis on where and how our food is raised and grown with practical tips and advice on the kitchen life.
Kim recently attended the kick-off event at the White House for Chefs Move to Schools, Michelle Obama’s latest initiative focused on child nutrition and wellness. She is the founder of Canning Across America, a collective dedicated to the revival of preserving food.   Her first book, “”The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook,”” will be released on September 14. Visit her website at

Severine von Tscharner Fleming is a farmer, activist and organizer based in the Hudson Valley, NY. Over the past two years she has produced and directed a documentary film about the young farmers who are reclaiming, restoring, retrofitting and respecting this country of ours. That film, titled “The Greenhorns” grew into a small nonprofit organization that currently produces events, media and new media for and about the young farming community. Greenhorns mission is to “recruit, promote and support” the growing tribe of new agrarians. To that end, Greenhorns runs a weekly radio show on Heritage Radio Network, a popular blog, a wiki-based resource guide for beginning farmers, a GIS-based mapping project, and dozens of mixers+ educational events for young farmers all around the country. Greenhorns actively works to provide venues for networking, collaboration and communication within their large, and growing! network. Severine attended Pomona College and University of California at Berkeley where she graduated with a B.S. in Conservation/AgroEcology. She co- founded the Pomona Organic Farm and founded UC Berkeley’s Society for Agriculture and Food Ecology and is a proud co-founder of the National Young Farmers Coalition.

Nicolette Hahn Niman is an attorney and livestock rancher.  Much of her time is spent speaking and writing about the problems resulting from industrialized food production, including the book Righteous Porkchop:  Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms (HarperCollins, 2009, ) and four essays for the New York Times. She is regular blogger for The Atlantic online, and has written for Huffington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and CHOW.  Previously, she was the Senior Attorney for the environmental organization Waterkeeper Alliance where she was in charge of the organization’s campaign to reform the concentrated livestock and poultry industry.  She lives in Bolinas, California with her husband, Bill Niman, founder of Niman Ranch, a natural meat company supplied by a network of over 600 traditional farmers and ranchers.  They now market the products of their ranch under the name BN Ranch.

Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist, eco feminist and author of several books.  Shiva, currently based in Delhi, is author of over 300 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. She received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, in 1978 with the doctoral dissertation:“Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory.”  Shiva participated in the nonviolent Chipko movement during the 1970s. The movement, some of whose main participants were women, adopted the approach of forming human circles around trees to prevent their felling. She is one of the leaders of the International Forum on Globalization, (along with Jerry Mander, Edward Goldsmith, Ralph Nader, Jeremy Rifkin, et al.), and a figure of the global solidarity movement known as the alter-globalization movement. She has argued for the wisdom of many traditional practices, as is evident from her interview in the book Vedic Ecology (by Ranchor Prime) that draws upon India’s Vedic heritage.



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