Davina Kotulski

Women on the Land: Creating Conscious Community

Filed By Davina Kotulski | September 17, 2012 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Marriage Equality
Tags: living off the land, Women on the Land

In the late 1960s a group of womyn, two of whom were lesbian-identified, decided that they wanted to go back to the land and learn how to be self-sufficient. Somehow they ended up in Mendocino CountyReal-Estate-Magazine.jpg in a little town about 3.5 hours from the San Francisco Bay Area.

It's the most beautiful land with the Pacific Ocean on one side and inland Redwood trees. Because it's on the coast it has a mild climate and in late Spring the countryside is lit up with flowering rhododendrons, red, purple, white, and pink. It's beautiful countryside. Today Mendocino County is known for its beautiful redwoods, it's cash crop-marijuana, and organic gardening. They were one of the few counties that sued Monsanto to keep GMOs off their land.

Photo: Review in Mendocino Coast Property Real Estate magazine featuring Laurie and Carmen. Carmen is the one holding the pitchfork.

More than 40 years ago, this small band of womyn became homesteaders, farmers and goat-herders. And I mean literally. They built their own homes and outhouses, rigged up their own plumbing, and figured out how to be self-sufficient and then even created a feminist magazine called Country Women that was distributed throughout the country to teach other womyn how to be self-sufficient. This incredible history is documented in a new film called "Women on the Land."

Carmen Goodyear, who is the co-creator of the film with her unlawfully wedded wife, Laurie York, was one of the first women settlers to this area and in her early twenties built a small cabin, Thoreau-Walden-Pond-style, that she lived in for about 35 years until a nearby redwood tree fell down and she decided to upgrade and get a kitchen and some indoor plumbing. A few years later she decided to get an indoor toilet. She is, after all, in her sixties now.

Forty years later, Carmen still herds goats, makes amazing goat cheese, has a beautiful garden and on top of this, she and Laurie are filmmakers. They made an internationally-award winning film called "Freedom to Marry" in 2004 that was shown on PBS and across the globe. The film documented the marriages in San Francisco City Hall during the Winter of Love and the Valentine's Day Marriage Equality Rally at the California State Capitol which included footage of comedian Margaret Cho.

Their new film "Women on the Land - Creating Conscious Community," which was released this spring, documents the important herstory of the back to the land movement that included so many young heterosexual women and lesbians in the 1970s and is a call to action to all of us today to find ways to live sustainably, eat organically, and curb our consumerism.

It is a very moving film and it's awesome that it shares the contributions lesbians have made in the organic food movement. It's also what makes this film controversial. Since some may consider the mere use of the word "lesbian" not "family friendly," this film's inclusivity of diversity may unnerve some more conservative types. It is quite possible that it already has.

It is important that this film not be kept out of the mainstream, therefore I'm asking you to help spread the word by sharing this post.

Here's the trailer.

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