The 4th National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture, coming up November 6-8 in Des Moines, is a great opportunity for women to connect and learn through 42 wide-ranging workshops, nine fascinating field tours, and three inspiring keynote addresses, say the organizers of the event. It is being organized by the Women, Food and Agriculture Network, or WFAN, based in Ames, Iowa.
Keynote speaker Pakou Hang will give her presentation during the closing luncheon, at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, November 8. Her talk is titled "Our New American Food Communities". Pakou is a seasoned community organizer with particular expertise in New American communities. Born in 1976 in the Ban Vinae Refugee Camp in Thailand, but now naturalized as an American citizen, Pakou is a member of the Hmong community in Minnesota. She served as deputy political director to Sen. Paul Wellstone's 2002 re-election campaign, and managed the 2001 campaign of Mee Moua, elected to the Minnesota legislature as the first Hmong woman in history to win a state legislative seat.
Pakou is now executive director of the Hmong American Farmers Association, a non-profit organization she co-founded in 2011 to support and advocate for Hmong farmers and their families. Pakou has helped her family farm for more than 20 years, and still sells every weekend at the downtown St. Paul farmers market. She graduated from Yale University in 1999 and from the University of Minnesota with a master's degree in political science in 2009.
Register by November 1 to avoid the late registration fee
Visit the conference page and click Register to reserve your spot before midnight November 1 to avoid a late registration fee. Conference links: Main conference page with info on keynote speakers; Agenda; Scholarships; Register; Sponsor and exhibit; Current Sponsors; Photo Contest.
In addition to the workshops and keynote speakers, the conference will also showcase local and regional artists through photo exhibits, live music, interpretive dance and a play production -– as well as a photo contest featuring your entries.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
On Wednesday night Nov. 6, enjoy original music during the opening conference social gathering performed by Iowa singer-songwriter Trish Bruxvoort-Colligan with her husband Richard.
Later that evening, Iowa State University will present "Vang," a two-person play highlighting the challenges and successes of present-day immigrant farmers in the Midwest, directed by Iowa Poet Laureate Mary Swander.
On Thursday evening, Nov. 7, female members of the Des Moines-based Gateway Dance Theater will perform an interpretive dance about the importance of clean water worldwide, called "Water is Life."
A number of activities offered in addition to workshops on farm-related topics
Enter the photo contest. Organizers of the event would love to see your photos entered. You can participate in the photo contest, hosted by Marji Guyler-Alaniz of Des Moines, the photographer who created the wonderful FarmHer photo project featuring candid portraits of U.S. women farmers. Her work will also be on display. Submit up to two entries for $5 each; entries will be showcased during the conference.
You will vote on the winners, and the entry fees will be used as cash prizes. Photo collages from "Project Localize" will also be on display, created by a group of Ames, Iowa high school students with support from the Lexicon of Sustainability. Their exhibit is also currently showing through Nov. 3 at the Smithsonian Metro Station in Washington, D.C.
Visit the conference page and register to reserve your spot before midnight November 1 to avoid a late registration fee. Remember, the hotel discount at the Holiday Inn Des Moines Airport ends at 5 p.m. on October 23. Call the front desk directly at 515-287-2400 and mention WFAN to book your room at the discount rate.
Interested in sharing a room or a ride? Contact Carol Schutte at 641-430-2540, or email her at [email protected].