In 1986, 2 Portage farm women separately approached the local Home Economist with questions. One was more interested in the technical knowledge of farm life farm transfers, new accounting procedures the other in looking for support and like situations in the farm family, and how to deal with family. With the great support of the Manitoba Agricultural Food and Rural Initiatives Home Economists, an idea was formed.
A conference covering both situations seemed like a good idea. A committee of farm women and some Home Economists met and came up with an agenda that would offer a number of subjects that would be of interest to farm women of all ages and stages of farm life. The first conference was held in Portage la Prairie and had 250 registered participants with another approximately 200 women on a waiting list. What a hit!
In the ensuing years, the success of the conference was enhanced by a steering committee that changed some of the members each year. New ideas were discussed and tools such as evaluation forms provided valuable information. Separate committees were formed to deal with individual aspects of the conference sponsorship, finance, hospitality and programs, for example. The range of topics varied every year.
For those attending over the years, the information gained has been tremendous from learning about farm transfers, how to deal with stress of farm life, to nutrition, farm diversification, entrepreneurship, quilting, retirement and even how to raise teenagers. Add to the mix the camaraderie and discovery of new friends and like companions knowing that there are others like yourself coping with the same problems and especially young farm women starting out and needing help.
The Manitoba Farm Women's Conference has been the only conference of its kind that has continued for over 30 years using the same concept for farm women, by farm women.
MFWC QUIlted banner
Near the very beginning of the conference, around the second year, a quilted banner was made and donated by Judy Morningstar, depicting the conference logo. Every year since, this quilt has hung in a place of honor behind the speakers at every conference.
Judy is a well known fabric artist who has taught courses across Canada and extensively in Manitoba. She lives in Woodlands.
The design for the logo was a collaborative effort between the organizing committee and myself. They wanted it to reflect the whole province and include a female figure. ~Judy Morningstar
"We really enjoyed our ‘girl’ getaway, met some great new women who we already look forward to seeing again next year. Days were proportioned really well." 2012
"Thank you for an excellent conference! Job well done to all the committee members." 2012
"Excellent conference, really loved it and good to know and meet new people, who have the same value’s in the farming world, that is getting to know how farmers support each other and to progress as farmers producing food to the world." 2012