Published on July 9th, 2008 | by Autumn Wiggins8
I did not pick up this magazine at my local book store because I was half-baked and looking for a quick giggle. No, my dears, the header of “Food as Celebration | Passionate Gardening | Nostalgic Crafts and Stitchery” was just as eye catching.
Mary Jane’s Farm, a publication of Mary Jane Butters, appears to be Martha Stewart Living for organic farm girls, or those of us who wish they were organic farm girls. Usually, I have a big problem with putting one person’s name and image all over things that were the combined effort of many talented people. However, my distaste of personified brands was trumped by aesthetically charming, recycled pages awash with useful content, and the company’s dedication to recycling and alternative energy usage.
The indie craft community has made an incredible group effort to distance itself from the country craft persona. The irony of what we refer to as “country crafts” is that at the height of its popularity, the corporate powers that be regurgitated its themes into manufactured crap. Mary Jane’s Farm magazine shows us what REAL country crafting is: functional, resourceful, feminine, sustainable. All without ducks in bonnets or apple basket motifs.
In it’s current quarterly issue, there are a myriad of sewing projects for vintage white linens, including an inventive plastic bottle bag. Their perspective on remixing thrift store finds and every day disposables is refreshing… a notable departure from the retro-kitsch trend. I fancy their effort to combine DIY with gardening too. You’ll find instructions for planting a vegetable garden in an old file box, and creating a kitchen compost bin for your organic food scraps.
The accompanying website leaves a lot to be desired. Navigation is confusing, and they really want to sell you some books, which I look forward to reviewing. This shouldn’t deter you from picking up the magazine though, and their thriving online community, The Farmgirl Connection, is worth checking out as well. It’s like the Craft Mafia, just not as badass.
To sum it up, what I like most about Mary Jane’s Farm is how inclusive they are to those of us in cities and suburbs. Many articles are written with urban farming in mind, and address the gentle process of creating a life free from the pressures of mainstream consumerism.
So, go pick up a copy today, and kindly excuse immature onlookers who make pot jokes about it.
Image Credit: Mary Jane’s Farm available for subscription on their website and at news stands nationwide
Additional Shout Out: Thanks to the infamous NotMartha.com blog for inspiring my title.