Vogue interviews Carmen & Laurie for Pride 2017


Country Women
by Rebecca Benga
Photographed by Amanda Jasnowski Pascual


We're happy to announce that our film, Women On The Land, was recently reviewed and recommended by Films for the Feminist Classroom. Here's the review:

Women On The Land. Directed by Laurie York and Carmen Goodyear. Mendocino, California: Mendocino Coast Films, 2012. 57 minutes.

Reviewed by C. A. Pomerleau

Feminist courses in American Studies tend to overlook rural areas as sites for gender and sexuality analysis, but a fifth of Americans live rurally in population groups smaller than 2,500 people. US land remains 95 percent rural open space. Women on the Land integrates feminism, queerness, and country living with contemporary concerns about the quality of the American food system, consumerism, and environmental crises like peak oil, water shortages, and climate change.

Women on the Land’s core group formed a commune forty years ago in Mendocino County, California, and produced the journal Country Woman. The film captures back-to-the-land, feminist, and lesbian-feminist optimism and excitement while it connects 1970s values with continuing efforts to improve society.

Focusing on one location with women in long-lasting friendships achieves some narrative arc from activist beginnings through today. In the film, participants address early goals and/or contemporary interests in sustainability. They have built self-sufficiency skills, partly detached from consumer capitalism, raised small livestock, and gardened to produce healthy organic food. For decades they have worked with others in the region to protect against the military-industrial complex’s environment degradation. This community has organized successfully against naval sonar testing, war games, corporate water theft, and nuclear reactor plans. Dialogues with younger women demonstrate that the sense of progressive community in Mendocino has thrived, benefitting from activism across generations since the commune’s dissolution. The film would pair well with readings about feminist organizing in the 1970s-1980s, intentional communities, or more broadly works on sustainability and environmentalism through appropriate technology, owner-built housing, organic growing, and more humane livestock practices.

Women On The Land also could be a starting point for environmental and food ethics discussions.


Mendocino Coast Property Real Estate Magazine, June 29, 2012

Cover: Review in Mendocino Coast Property Real Estate Magazine, June 29, 2012

Excerpt: “...Their most recent offering is Women On The Land, a movie that sings with love for this place and the ethic that brought so many women here to live simply, work the earth and create a sustainable lifestyle that few of them came here knowing how to live. Carmen and Laurie recently introduced Women On The Land at two screenings at Matheson Performing Arts Center, in Mendocino, to packed houses. Laurie and Carmen describe here the process that brought this film to life...”
Read full article...

Viewers comments

“This beautifully crafted film reveals the brave and remarkable story of a group of 20th century pioneer women who grabbed onto all the feminist movement had to offer and lived it. In their own voices, with their own words, several women who have been successfully living on the land for nearly 50 years, give us a glimpse of how their lives evolved from consciousness-raising to conscious political action aimed at insuring their own autonomy & self-sufficiency in a world devoted to high-octane consumerism.

    This is also a story about the personal courage women need to confront socially prescribed gender roles, about the right every woman has to live her life on her own terms, and about what aspiring to a self-sufficient life looks like for young women living on the land today, as the 21st century unfolds. A truly inspiring, must-see documentary for anyone interested in women's history or the health of the food system, the planet, or themselves.”
—Prof. Paula vW. Dail, PhD

“WOW—I finally sat down and enjoyed every minute of Women on the Land! What a sweet example of what is possible in life—to pioneer and teach oneself and others how to build and live a life on one's own terms and true to one's own values. The film stands as a dare to everyone who watches it to join a community and collectively create and sustain a world that will work for everyone. The Chamber of Commerce should use your film to draw people out of the city and back to the land!”
—Molly McKay, Attorney

“Women On The Land was life changing for me and I feel so lucky to have seen it while I am still in my 30s. I now see my future quite clearly. Thank you!!! I feel like I have been blind and I am starting to wake up.”
—Mary Williams

“By the end of the film my face hurt from smiling so much!”
—Frieda Feen

“We watched Women On The Land last night and were both so touched by what we saw. Love the historic aspect and the full-circle feeling of the entire film. Made me feel so much pride in how we live our lives on this land. The importance of community, the sustainability and priority of our amazing planet, the lessons of history all come shining through in your film. I can't recommend it highly enough. Would love to have it in the Olympia Film Festival this fall. Can so clearly see it airing on PBS. Best of luck and congratulations to Laurie and Carmen on a job so very well done with obvious love and respect.”
—Mian Bond-Carvin

“I had the opportunity to view your film tonight and it is making me cry. The women in your film seem to have peace in their lives, in their hearts—it is shown through the interaction with animals and with food, and with the love they have for the land. They give and the land gives back.

    I can't imagine what it would be like for women to have peace, for me to have peace, to be truly happy with what I do and with my surroundings and the people in my life. In my busy life—part time teacher, caring for an elderly man, and taking care of my grandson because my own daughter has chosen other paths—the peace must be created in small pockets, it'snot a lifestyle. To have a lifestyle of peace and self acceptance, and security with myself and the people within my community, and with the land that nurtures me -wow- what a goal to attain—in that way Women On The Land is inspiring, and an aspiring goal for me.
    It makes me sad for women who do not know that peace is something they can have, it makes me grieve a little because I have waited 'til my 40's to figure that out, but grateful because this film has made this very clear for me. Thank you.”
—Cathy Allegretti

Inspiring Books and Stories by Fans of Women On The Land

If you've ever dreamed of chucking it all and moving to the country, or even if you already live off the grid, Women Gone Wild is a must-read. Funny and surprising, the book is one woman's account of moving with her partner from the suburbs of San Francisco to the hardscrabble hills of Mendocino County. Starting with a tent, then a cabin, and finally a house off the grid, six miles down a tortuous dirt road, the two women face fears, phobias and close encounters with rattlesnakes, bears, wild horses, pot growers and each other. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Women Gone Wild Press
Women On The Land screened at the 7th Annual Colorado Environmental Film Festival
February 22, 2013 - and won the “Spirit of Activism” award!