Have you ever stopped to ponder where you are in life? How you got to where and who you are? Are you the type of person who plans everything out step by step, setting goals and marking them off? Or do you prefer to see where life leads you, making choices as they come? Maybe you do things entirely differently, switching it up as you see fit.
As it happens, I’ve become a bit more introspective lately — maybe it’s the pandemic, or maybe I’m just reaching that age at which one starts taking stock — and I can’t help but marvel at the turns my life has taken, the paths I have crossed and traveled, and the opportunities and influences that have availed themselves.
To be clear, I am not, and never have been the type of person to have a five-, ten-, or twenty-year plan or set any type of long-range goals. That’s not to say it won’t happen, it just hasn’t yet. And if I’m being completely honest, it probably won’t. Thus far I have enjoyed embracing opportunities as they arise, to varying degrees of success. In my contemplations of the last seven years, since moving to Green County and finding myself in the company of the Soil Sisters, my life path has taken the wildest and most wondrous turns. Never did I fathom I would be where I am now.
The Soil Sisters is an indescribable network of women in the Green County area. When there is not a pandemic we gather for potlucks, exchanging ideas, and camaraderie. And so so much more. There is support, laughter, partnerships, ideas, excitement, encouragement, help — all freely exchanged among this welcoming group. And during this pandemic, we are still finding ways to connect and be there for each other in all the ways we do. It’s incredibly hard to convey all that the Soil Sisters encompass, but my connection with the Soil Sisters has been life-changing for me. If I had to pick one over-arching word to associate with the Soil Sisters that has affected me most profoundly, it would be “inspiration.” Each Soil Sister is inspirational, whether they realize it of themselves or not, and that is the heart of the beauty and mystery of this group.
This inspiration is what has sparked ideas and the courage to try. Partnerships and businesses have been born from this inspiration, endeavors not previously thought possible, steps in the making of dreams. And the best part is that the inspiration compounds and reaches even further. Personally, I have been inspired to try things that I never would have imagined for myself pre-Soil Sisters: running for local office, raising (and butchering) animals, starting a business, partnering and starting a cooperative, learning and honing skills, civic engagement, actively building community, and so much more. It is the inspiration and encouragement of these Soil Sisters, these Soul Sisters who we can lean on and ask questions of and bounce ideas off of, who have helped me become who I am and where I am today. I am so grateful to each and every one for being exactly who they are because they have inspired me to where I am today. And I cannot wait to see where inspiration leads me tomorrow!
We are all experiencing challenges and could use a little inspiration. I sincerely hope you find that inspiration. It’s there if you look. As much as you derive inspiration from another, you provide inspiration to others; you reach more people than you realize!
— Erica Roth and her family run Ewetopia Hill Farm, a beginning homestead. What was once rows of corn and beans is now seven acres of pasture, gardens, new trees and home to a variety of animals including sheep, chickens, bees and pigs. Soil Sisters, a program of Renewing the Countryside, connects and champions women in the Green County area committed to sustainable and organic agriculture, land stewardship, local food, family farms and healthy and economically vibrant rural communities.