more farmgirl love - MaryJane Butters

this is an old/new farmgirl obsession of mine, to go along with my post about mama earth farm. i first read about maryjane butters when i read, long ago, a 1995 National Geographic article before many people were even talking about the word organic. i was intrigued by her story, especially about the fact that she dropped out of college to become a wilderness forestry ranger at a young age. and i have been sort of in love with her ever since. I found her magazine while browsing the shelves of Borders one day and since then I've followed her as she has built an empire of organic living stuff.

Her husband calls her a visionary, which i think is appropriate: she has a true entrepeneurial spirit but the nice thing about hers is that the ideas she comes up with bring community and organic living together and strive to make the world a better place.

For example, she started this thing called the Pay Dirt Farm School which is a non profit organization that teaches young people how to do organic farming and offers farm apprenticeships.

Another thing she created is an organization called Project F.A.R.M (which stands for First-class American Rural Made) which provides locals, especially young women, opportunities to work with their hands creating various crafty products, for example the bloomers and aprons she designs and sells, to earn money for college. That way if you buy something with the label "Project F.A.R.M" on it you know you are getting something handcrafted in the USA and not shipped from an exploitative overseas operation.

Reading about MaryJane's various projects and ideas almost gets overwhelming. But the spirit and energy behind it all is what I love. There is almost nothing I love more than a vintage ruffly apron, which she constantly wears, and she keeps her hair long and lovely in a big thick braid. She rides a bicycle with a basket full of brightly colored zinnias and paints her nails even as she goes out to collect eggs and work in her garden. She is the perfect blend of feminine and beautiful and also strong and innovative and active.

This is a woman that truly inspires me. If you have time, watch this little video about her.


mooncowboy said…
Heather, I'm currently loving the magazine (the bee/honey issue) that you sent us. I know it's been a while, but I finally got down to reading it, which I have been over the past couple days. I love it! She's a wonderful person, inspiring to both Amy and me. She was born and raised in Utah (raised Mormon), and there's a lot there I can connect with. I'm glad you have a farmgirl obsession with her, and that you could transfer that interest to us. I want to subscribe to her magazine. I really love this bee issue--you know how much I love honey, and we've planned for a while to be amateur beekeepers when we have a little tiny bit of land (just a backyard will do). Bees are absolutely amazing.
oh my gosh i just found this comment. i am SO GLAD you are enjoying that magazine. i actually had forgotten that you are interested in bees and honey although i'm sure we talked about it before. what a perfect one for me to give you. some of them have more girly/cheesy themes like "collections" or something like that but i love them all. i never actually subscribed, i've just bought a few at borders. i do think she is so inspiring and she reminds me a lot of amy: really down to earth and natural and adventurous and somehow also truly beautiful and feminine inside and out. now for having million dollar ideas and becoming nice and comfortably secure financially from living your dreams, that's all you guys need to do next!
mooncowboy said…
Yeah, there's definitely an overriding feminine theme, but I don't mind at all. I think it's fun that I'm perhaps not her direct target audience but I still get something out of it!

She reminds me of Amy too. We would talk about articles or quotes and ideas and always want to emulate her. Good stuff.

Yeah, we have about five honey varietals right now: mesquite, lavender, mixed blossom from Oregon, mixed blossom from Provo, and Ghananaian honey (really dark and different, almost molassesy, from blossoms at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary). I'm addicted to buying honey! I just made honey candy the other day by boiling honey till its thick then letting it harden, rolling it then chopping it into bitesized pieces. I always stock up at the farmers market. I think Amy gets sick of storing so much honey.

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