Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN) is proud to announce Shanti Sellz as the recipient of the 2018 Woman in Sustainable Agriculture Award to recognize her work as a farmer and individual committed to building a food system in which everyone has access to healthy and affordable food. WFAN will honor Shanti at the 2018 WFAN Annual Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, on November 3.
WFAN created the Women in Sustainable Agriculture Award to recognize the necessary and critical steps women are taking to promote WFAN’s mission to “engage women in building an ecological and just food and agriculture system through individual and community power.”
“Too often, women in agriculture are not acknowledged, especially women with ecofeminist voices and ideologies,” said Bridget Holcomb, WFAN’s Executive Director. “With this award, we intend to celebrate and lift up those under-recognized women and their exceptional work. Such diverse work may include, but is not limited to, farming, storytelling, organizing, teaching and advocating .”
WFAN selected Shanti for her longstanding commitment to supporting other women in agriculture, through hiring women and collaborating with other female producers when possible. Shanti currently owns and operates Muddy Miss Farms where she grows a diversity of produce and flowers. Shanti has a CSA and sells her produce to local procurers, as well as directly to consumers at the Iowa City Farmers Market.
In addition to farming, Shanti co-founded Greens Share LLC, a regional group of food producers who aggregate their products to sell through a CSA, building upon the strength of the many. Shanti helped organize the Farm to Street Dinner, the first of its kind in Iowa City. The proceeds of the 2017 event were donated to Iowa Valley Global Food Project, an organization in which local citizens work alongside the immigrant community to grow food and exchange knowledge. Shanti also pioneered the role of local food and planning specialist in Johnson County, where she was the first to hold the position. As outlined in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Shanti recently filed a lawsuit against the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, who fired her from this new role after she was assaulted by her boss.
This winter, Shanti came under the great misfortune of losing her home to fire. Inside, were her two beloved dogs. However, Shanti did not let this tragedy pull her down. She got right back out into the fields to continue to do the work that she is called to do today and every day in support of sustainable food and community, even in the face of great challenges.