I’ve recently observed that many of the most interesting ecological restoration projects focused on food and medicinal plants are managed by teams of (primarily) women who structure the project’s relationships to local communities in ways far more interesting & effective than the way men have conventionally structured such ecological restoration initiatives.
For instance, herbalists, educators, basketry-makers, soil scientists, landscape designers and individuals of many other vocations and avocations are welcomed from the start as full participants in these community-based projects, not as after-thoughts.
I hope current trends to right historic wrongs, encourage us to fast-track the restructuring of participatory science programs to place more women as their leaders, mentors and team facilitators. We need their ethics, wisdom and guidance more than ever, for the innovations they may bring us to are the ones most desperately needed to make biocultural restoration efforts last.
Old “white” dudes like me need to abdicate privilege and leadership roles and get out of the way if only at that we can experience the joys and steep learning curves that can come with staying part of teams we care about in service roles, as understudies or apprentices.
We need to absorb the delight of seeing good work organized in ways other that what we ourselves have previously imagined. I stand to gain more joy and understanding in that manner than I can gain participating in business as usual through status quo organizational structures.
My gratitude to all the women who have taught me more about “community building” within and beyond our own species than I could ever teach them.