By Lisa Kivirist
When you think of the word “hospitality,” what image comes to mind? Maybe a vision of mom’s china set that only came out for special occasions? It’s easy to fall into the expected, often obligatory aspects of hospitality like dinner parties and required house cleaning.
But today, let’s cook up a broader definition of hospitality to create a spirit of welcome that enables us to authentically invite and include a greater number and diversity of people at the table. Whether we’re shaking up the system from our literal kitchen table or a broader virtual convening, we—as women committed to sustainable agriculture and land stewardship—can actively invite more voices in. Especially as we navigate a new COVID-19 world with evolving norms of social gatherings, how can we keep warm hospitality at the forefront?
“Hospitality is how someone makes you feel, accommodation is where you lay your head,” shares Ash Bruxvoort, who runs Thistle’s Summit, a bed and breakfast in Mount Vernon, Iowa, with their partner, Marti Payseur. As members of the LBGTQ community, Ash and Marti blend their activist mission with lodging by thoughtfully and authentically curating such a welcoming space for all.
Below are some perspectives on generating such hospitality from Bruxvoort and other women who have created such unique and enduring spaces of welcome:
By Lisa Kivirist
Photo: John D. Ivanko Photography
“Please come and bring a dish to pass.”
We women in agriculture share those words of welcoming hospitality frequently, especially during the social summer months. We know first-hand the power of the potluck and that much more takes place beyond what’s on the plate. People connect, stories are shared and communities strengthen, all thanks to a layered casserole dish in a 9x13 pan if you live here in the Midwest.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has put the kibosh on this summer’s typical potluck scene. While we’re all hopeful to see the potluck return in the future, for the time being we need to reinvent. Good news: creative reinvention is something we women thrive in. We have a knack for seeing new solutions and options, from ways to attract pollinators to how to occupy the kids when you have a farm job to do.
Now is the moment to embrace the pivot and draw inspiration from our community of women for tangible ideas and inspiration for new ways to keep the collaborative spirit of the potluck, just creating it in new ways. Seize the spring and all her vernal energy to stretch yourself to try something new, act on a passion and together build community and renew our countryside.
Here are some ideas from the field:Read more