Written by Barb Breshock
WV WOW program coordinators and Guild members, Amy Cimarolli and Barb Breshock, introduced the program to women farmers last November through participation as vendors at the Women in Agriculture Conference. In WV, most farmers maintain forestland, or at least a woodlot, on their acreage that is too steep, rocky, or unproductive for other agricultural endeavors.
Amy and Barb were delighted with the interest in our informational table (boosted perhaps by chances at forestry books and other door prizes!): 31 women signed up to be part of the WV WOW email group, and of those, 23 expressed an interest in the spring workshop (May 5-7) and 17 in Women Focused Chainsaw Training (June 10).
Met were several women involved with other WV groups interested in exploring partnerships with WV WOW! These groups will help spread the word of WV WOW’s resources and community to women woodland owners in their network. One group involved in urban farming and small business development shared their community’s interest in small native fruit production, and from that discussion came the idea of co-hosting an event around elderberries – growing and processing them into usable and marketable products! We are excited about this development that connects foresters with urban landowners and small business incubators!
Amy and Barb thoroughly enjoyed meeting the organizers and participants at this conference. Recognizing the value of WV WOW’s knowledge and resources for women farmers, the organizers invited WV WOW to provide a 50-minute presentation at next year’s Women in Agriculture Conference! The many topics that woodland owners should be aware of to maintain their forest’s productivity and diversity will be presented to engage and encourage women to participate in WV WOW’s field programs to learn more!