A second pandemic Mother's Day

As an American business woman, I’m constantly aware of the inequities faced by my gender in the American business world. The pandemic year has been particularly hard on women in business. The losses falling disproportionately on working mothers and hardest on those who are BIPOC. I am not a Mother, and yet the kitchen garden series wouldn’t exist without the many professional women with children in my network. My financial advisor is a working mother, as is my accountant, some of my marketing consultants, many shop owners that stock my wares, the artists I collaborate with and the production manager of the shop that sews for me as well as a large number of the amazing seamstresses there.

A year ago I wrote a blog about my bright spots under quarantine. One of them I called “knowing the essentials”. I wrote “As a consequence of sheltering in place, I've had a great opportunity to notice what's essential to my well being. I can choose what's vital to my mental health and I can use the skills I've gained to re-examine my choices from time to time. “ At the end of this long year, I realize that my work is essential to my well being. It is one of the things that has gotten me through this pandemic, keeping my mind engaged and my hands busy and it contributes to my sense of self worth, giving meaning to my days, weeks, months. I’m proud to have kept my business afloat and continued to help the professional women with children in my network keep their businesses afloat.

Mother’s day is coming and, whether or not you get Mom a gift, take the time to let her know you see her struggle. According to the US department of labor, since the start of the pandemic, over 2 million women nationwide have dropped out of the workforce. Most of them Mothers who made the sacrifice in the face of school closures.

Here are a couple of ways you can help Professional Women with children regain some of what the pandemic took from them.

  • If you are in business, join me in making a commitment to working business to business with woman owned companies and making sure 30% of those are BIPOC.
  • If you are not in business, spend your dollars with woman owned companies and choose those who do business with 30% BIPOC and woman owned companies.

 

So, if your mother has been lusting after one of our Mothers day sets, by all means get it for her! She deserves it and you can confidently tell her that you got it from a company that is committed to women and BIPOC in business. If a handmade card is what you’re planning, that’s perfect too! Either way, start the conversation with Mom and everyone else about gender and racial equity in business. If we are to regain the equity lost during this pandemic and progress beyond pre-pandemic equity, the numbers matter!

renewing and reweaving

renewing and reweaving

As the world around us unravels in ways most of us never imagined, I’m encouraged by the space being created for those who have been working to build alternatives to the destructive path we’ve been on for so long. In my business community, there is a great sense of renewal. 

I’ve had the good fortune to meet so many brilliant business people, farmers, shoe makers, researchers, administrators, financial advisors, fashion designers, glass blowers, wood workers. All of us are drawn together by the solutions we’re pursuing with our work. The good news is that we already have the tools to build community self-reliance through best business practices. Great change is happening. At the Kitchen Garden Series, our flax project is a significant step towards renewal of a local regenerative textile supply chain. The ⅛ acre of flax for linen we grew with Emma at Kneehigh Farm in 2020 was just the first thread connecting us to a network of people working to revitalize the production of flax into linen in our region and beyond. Now, almost a year later, we have teamed up with community organizers and enthusiasts in Philadelphia and the surrounding region. A group of us are contracting the consultation services of Fibrevolution, a similar group located in the Pacific Northwest, that is eight years into achieving the same goals in Oregon. We are forging relationships with hemp farmers, learning and exploring the similarities for processing the flax and hemp into fiber, and working on a three-year plan to have an operational mill in our region. We are weaving together our business plan, meeting with people interested in crop research and development, developing regional seed varieties, opening a mill,  and seeking brands ready to commit to using our PA linen- when we can finally make it! The strands of a toxic system are loosening and we are spinning them into solutions that are mindful of social justice and community self-reliance.

Being small business owners is challenging at best these days, but we are struggling with a renewed sense of purpose. We have great hope that the increased focus on local business, social justice, mitigating climate catastrophe and local self-reliance are permanent. We look forward to doing our part in improving our communities. We’re collaborating, pooling resources, cross promoting and feeling the energy of this collective effort to build a more equitable world.

I understand that it isn’t always the most convenient option to choose small ethical businesses to meet your daily needs. I appreciate every dollar you spend, and your patronage and support are crucial threads that intertwine to weave a stunning new fabric of society.