Feature Article

A Book Is Finally Born – March 2018

Hello, friends. I couldn’t hold back another day to share the exciting news with you. I’m overjoyed to announce that my book, Women Who Dig: Farming, Feminism, and the Fight to Feed the World (University of Regina Press), will finally be born into the world on March 1, 2018.

What began four years ago as an impassioned essay, a 1000-word rant about women’s access to farmland and justice – which I called “My Daughter Wants to Be a Farmer” – has somehow grown into a 265-page literary narrative that, chapter by chapter, takes readers on a journey across three continents, eight countries, and into the fields, farms, and lives of women who grow food. Each chapter includes stunning images taken by Vancouver-based photojournalist, KJ Dakin.

Several weeks ago, when my editor at the University of Regina Press sent me the first proof, or layout of Women Who Dig, I felt a state of blissful wonder, bordering on disbelief that a tiny seed of an idea had traveled so far in the book publishing process.

Writing may be a solitary act, but publishing is collective one. I’m so thankful to the creative minds at the University of Regina Press for bringing Women Who Dig to life. The book has benefited enormously from a talented team of publishers, editors, designers, and marketers, who’ve helped to polish my stories into a powerful narrative. My agent, Marilyn Biderman, has also been with me every step of the way. I believe that, together, we’ve created truly something beautiful.

In addition, I owe the world to my family, friends, colleagues, and community for constantly supporting, inspiring, and challenging me throughout the various stages of research, writing, editing, and publishing. No doubt, I would’ve lost my way without the support of my community.

I can’t wait to share my book with you soon. I hope the stories of women farmers – their achievements and struggles – will inspire you as much as they’ve inspired me. Stay tuned for more information about the book’s launch in March 2018.

Much love and gratitude,

-Trina

Pre-Order Today – Women Who Dig: Farming, Feminism, and the Fight to Feed the World (University of Regina Press, March 2018)

Feature Article

Down on the Farm: Women Farmers in the Peace Country

“From the time that I was a little girl, I knew that I wanted to be a farmer,” recalls Mary Lundgard from her family’s home, just outside Grimshaw, Alberta. As she talks, she minces a clove of garlic – locally grown by her daughter, Lisa – and adds it to the mushroom soup simmering on the stovetop.

Born and raised in the eastern Maritimes of Canada, Lundgard was a town girl with the dream to grow and raise her own food. “My mom grew up on a farm in Nova Scotia,” Mary remembers, “She always said, ‘Oh no, you don’t want to do that!’ My family used to tease me about this childhood dream. But later in life, I moved to Alberta, met my husband, Peter, and we began to farm. Finally, I could write home to my family and tell them, well, I’m now a farmer.”

Over the past several decades, Mary and Peter have managed small seed and livestock operations in northern Alberta. In 2005, they moved their family from Fairview to 600-acres of land southwest of Grimshaw, where they started Nature’s Way Farm, a certified organic farm, producing pasture-fed beef, sheep, lamb, and pork. “We’re trying to farm a sustainable way,” says Mary, explaining that they don’t use any chemicals for pest-control, or fertilizers for field production.

Mary_Lisa

Nature’s Way’s holistic approach to growing and raising food is well-known in the Peace Country. Every year, the farm receives dozens of aspiring farmers from all over the world who come to intern and learn, hands-on, about organic agriculture. But what also makes Nature’s Way unique – and what many people might not realize – is that many aspects of the farm are managed with a woman’s touch. “I’m not just the wife, I’m not just the worker,” says Mary, smiling. “I’m actually a farmer.”

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Feature Article

What Comes from the Earth — Reflections on Writing, Farming and Surrendering to the Unknown

“I will never get tired of watching seeds grow,” said one of the women I recently interviewed for the closing pages of my book. “It’s such a miraculous thing.” I felt my head nodding along with the gentle rhythm and meaning of her words. I envisioned a tiny seed in darkness, splitting its cask and unfurling a green wandering thread, hungry, searching for light.

My mind dwelled on her choice of word: “miraculous”. Growing food, indeed, is a miraculous process. Particularly in a day and age where environmental, socioeconomic, and political factors — what forces shape the way we cultivate seeds and what comes from the earth — have never been so uncertain. Farmers pull from scientific, experiential, ancestral, cultural, and even spiritual wisdom to make choices on the land: what seeds to sow in the earth, when to plant, how to plant, what materials to mix into the soil, what tools to work the land with, which rituals to perform, how to irrigate, etc.

But much of farming, of sowing seeds, is about surrender, waiting and acceptance that some seeds germinate, while others — based on both known and unknown influences — do not.

Patience and surrender.

These are two farming traits I’m trying to embody these days. Not as a farmer, but as a writer.

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