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The Female Farmer Project Chronicles the Rise of Farms Operated by Women

Women, the proverbial gatherers, are operating more farms than ever.

Image via Female Farmer Project

Women working in agriculture is nothing new. In fact, the gender is widely credited as mankind’s original gatherers. In ancient Mesapotamia, a matriarchy, women were in charge of the fields and gardens where cereal was grown. During WWI, a group of women called The Farmerettes mobilized to take over U.S. farms while men fought overseas. In developing countries around the world today, food is largely the product of hard, painstaking work put in daily in fields and patches by local women. A female-driven tractor is certainly not a novelty in the United States. What is new, and at the center of Audra Mulkern’s Female Farmer Project, is the recent surge in female-owned and -operated farms. The unique portrait and blogging series shows the faces and tells the stories of the modern women slowly but surely taking ownership of an industry they’ve long been silent partners in.

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A Love Letter to DC

A Love Letter to Washington, DC by Brightest Young Things' Founder, Svetlana Legetic

When approached to write this letter, I was asked to be emotional and real and true to my feelings about Washington DC, and about how it has shaped me as an individual (and entrepreneur). If you know me, you know that I am neither outwardly emotional nor nostalgic, and so this was, well, a little bit of a challenge. But because it turns out that I do truly, legitimately love this place, here goes...

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People Are Awesome: Blogging While Braving Cancer

Ellie Jeffery fought illness and boredom while providing the world an inspiring glimpse of her hope.


When London-based broadcast journalist Ellie Jeffery was diagnosed with breast cancer that had spread to her lungs, liver, and bones, she was told she had only months to live. Not one to give up, Jeffery demanded a second opinion and started working on beating the cancer. Part of that struggle included vowing to get married to her fiancé, Tom Thostrup, despite her condition, and keeping people abreast of her illness via her blog "Written Off," so named because her first doctor had done just that—written her off as dead. Though she put up a hell of a fight, Jeffery died on May 18, 2012, two years after she was initially diagnosed. She was only 29.

Dying of cancer is often a long and painful process. To be able to face that pain every day is an achievement in and of itself. But to face that pain while also inviting others into your life and your story is eminently admirable. With Written Off, Jeffery gave people a glimpse at what cancer does to its victims, their families, and their loved ones. Sometimes it was funny, and other times it was very sad. But with every entry she wrote during the blog's year of existence, Jeffery gave cancer patients, cancer survivors, and others little parcels of inspiration and hope that even in the worst of times, life can be worth leading.

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Teachers: Use Social Media for Educating Kids, Not Mocking Them

A Chicago teacher who made fun of one of her second-grade student's hairstyles online is just the latest example of social media misuse in schools.


Teachers, I know you get frustrated and have bad days, that's understandable, but the internet is not the place to vent about your students. No matter how private you think your Facebook page is, or how small your personal blog readership may be, what you've said will become a problem for you.

The latest example of online communication about students gone wrong comes from Chicago where a teacher at Overton Elementary on the city's South Side decided to mock one of her second grade student's hairstyles. Seven year-old Ukailya Lofton, who'd asked her mother to style her hair for picture day by tying Jolly Rancher candies to the ends of her braids, thought her teacher was being complimentary when she asked to take pictures of the hairdo.

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Could Blogging Be the Key to Raising a Generation of Great Writers?

A Minnesota teacher is helping her students set up blogs and gain a readership. The result? The kids "see themselves as writers—real writers."


"I don't like to write." That's the refrain teachers have heard for a generation when they ask students why they're struggling to complete a short, three-paragraph essay. Thankfully, more and more educators are using two things kids love, technology and social media, to change that. By encouraging students to write on their own blogs, savvy teachers are helping kids take their writing out of the classroom vacuum, and cultivate a broader audience.

Minnesota teacher Lisa Christens told Twincities.com that her third graders have fans as far away as Nottingham, England. Her students can post about what they're working on in class as well as more personal material. The desire for reader feedback keeps the students excited about wanting to write more posts, and they're eager to improve their writing skills for their readers' benefit. "They now have a worldwide forum instead of an audience of one," Christens said, noting that the students "see themselves as writers—real writers."

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