304: Karen Lanier on Wisdom and Wonders of Women Farmers.

Recognizing the feminine nature within all and how this benefits farming.


Karen is a naturalist, documentarian, teacher, artist, and gardener who explores the interconnections of nature and culture. She holds degrees in photography, foreign language, conservation studies, and documentary studies as well as a professional environmental educator certificate. She worked as a seasonal park ranger in state and national parks across the US before settling in Kentucky and her Americore volunteer experience with Seedleaf, a community gardening nonprofit. This experience helped her shift her migratory perspective on life toward putting down roots.

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Karen writes a regular column for Hobby Farms online magazine. She edited and co-authored the book, Wildlife in Your Garden (Lumina, 2016), and authored the book, The Woman Hobby Farmer (Fox Chapel, 2017).


In This Podcast:

Seeking out the things that felt the most important and right to her, sent Karen Lanier on a journey through several states and quite a few learning adventures. Earning a degree in Environmental Documentation kept her circling around natural surroundings and she found herself with the opportunity to interview women farmers about their experiences and insights. Her reflections and awareness that are worthwhile to any farmer regardless of gender is shared in her new book The Woman Hobby Farmer.

Listen in and learn about:

  • A meandering path that she took rushing to get out of Texas, and moving all over
  • Starting with a National Park Ranger position
  • Going back to school to get a degree in Environmental Documentation
  • Being a vegetarian for nine years and switching back to meat
  • Going to Kentucky and starting WWOOFing
  • Studying wildflowers after a wildfire
  • Landing in Kentucky for a while, then starting with Seadleaf
  • Then working with Wild Ones and writing in their newsletter
  • Getting to work with Hobby Farms magazine and co-authoring her first book
  • Connecting with people and educating them about nature
  • Writing the book about women farmers and struggling with gender exclusion/inclusion
  • Identifying the feminine aspect of farming
  • Connecting with your space
  • Recognizing the feminine perspective of farming

As well as:

  • Her failure – Lasting only a few weeks on the farm in Kentucky
  • Her success – Her new book and all that it encompasses
  • Her drive – Knowing what she does not want and moving away from it, and knowing what she does want and moving towards it
  • Her advice – Don’t grow what you don’t like to eat, grow what you do like to eat

Books written by Karen:

The Woman Hobby Farmer: Female Guidance for Growing Food, Raising Livestock, and Building a Farm-Based Business

Wildlife in Your Garden: Planting and Landscaping to Create a Backyard Sanctuary

Karen’s Book recommendations: 

The Clan of the Cave Bear: Earth’s Children, Book One by Jean M. Auel

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingslover

The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country by Peter Bane

How to reach Karen:           

Website: kalacreative.net

UrbanFarm.org/KalaCreative


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