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Conference offers some social time for rural women during a quiet time of the year

Winter can be a cold and isolating time of year for women who live on farms in Waterloo Region.

Waterloo Rural Women wants to help fight those winter blahs with an educational and, naturally, fun mini conference in Woolwich Township.

The Feb. 2 event is all about learning and staying social when there is less to do for women at home on the farm, says Waterloo Rural Women volunteer Sharon Grose.

“It is a quiet time on the farm,” she said. “We found that people want to get together, so there is a lot of socializing that happens.”

Taking place at the Wallenstein Bible Chapel, the day-long event will feature three guest speakers, a vintage clothing show with some fashion advice, and from Community Care Concepts, a fun craft with canning jars and candles.

Grose says one of the main highlights of the day is a presentation on communication between family members on a farm stead. Richard Cressman will be addressing relationships in a farm business, drawing on his own experiences in the family business.

“A lot of the women that come to these conferences are moms and they are working with senior parents on the farm, or are involved in the farm operation and businesses. Then they have their children and other family members, and that is a whole communication link that needs navigating,” she said.

Attendees will also be getting a lesson in fire safety and fire extinguisher use with a high-tech computer program.

“Everyone has a fire extinguisher in their house or on their farm, but it sits there. Then you have a fire, and you think, ‘oh my god, what do I do?’” she said. “(The activity) is really cool. They have a fire on a computer screen so we don’t burn the building down, and the extinguisher is connected to the screen. You have to pick it up, pull the pin the proper way, and then direct it at the right spot on the fire on the screen to make it go out. It doesn’t go out unless you do it properly.”

Leslie Zinger will also be there discussing her experiences as a successful farmer just outside of Elmira, and will be sharing some of the creative ideas she has come up with to help boost her business.

“She has goats and pigs on her farm. Goats like to chew on trees, and when people were taking down their Christmas trees she had a day where she invited them to bring her their trees and tour the farm,” said Grose. “It was a great idea. It is recycling, it brings people to her farm and they usually buy something while they are there. It also educated people.”

There will also be a crafting session with Becky Roth from Community Care Concepts with a take-home craft and another presenter, Gary Boes, will be talking with attendees about bylaws and farmers’ rights.

The event costs $20, which covers a full hot lunch with homemade pie and the craft supplies. The group asks that anyone who would like to attend can register ahead of time by calling Donna Rogers at 519-576-1933 or Susan Martin at 519-501-8148.

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