Start a Local Network
WFAN was created in 1997 to serve as a network of women engaged in various aspects of sustainable agriculture, from farming to policy-making to purchasing healthy food for our families.
Our founders recognized that women needed a network because they were often working in isolation: geographically because they were often farming or working in rural areas, and culturally because of their choice to work in alternative agriculture. Our members also tell us over and over that they appreciate a women-only network, partly because agriculture in the US is still a highly gendered arena that favors men, and because women work and process information differently from men.
The WFAN website serves as a portal for our virtual community of information and support for
women all over the US around the issue of sustainable agriculture and healthy food systems. But we know nothing replaces face-to-face interaction with peers. That’s why we hope to offer some support to those of you who may not live in the Midwest where we hold most of our events, and don’t have access to any of the other regional networks that continue to spring up around the country.
All it takes to create a network is communication and hospitality. Here are some tips and ideas to help you hold a networking meeting:
Reach out to other women in your area who might be interested in creating your local network. Even one other person can make a big difference in your efforts.
Choose a location for your meeting. It can be your home, or any public meeting space at a library, church, or community center.
Pick a date and time that you think will accommodate the most women’s schedules.
Write up a brief meeting announcement and send it out to your local newspapers and radio stations.
You can also create a handout or postcard and put it out in locations such as the farmers market, co-op grocery, or other spots where your audience is likely to see it.
Plan the first meeting as a get-to-know-you gathering, to find out what the other women’s interests are. Then you can plan subsequent meetings accordingly.
Ask them about meeting format (informal chat, speaker, book study?) and frequency. Perhaps they’ll want to rotate hosting or take turns bringing refreshments.
Offer snacks and drinks!