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.