Garden Club welcomes women’s rights leader

You may think of farm and garden clubs as doing simply that, farming and gardening. But in actuality they do far more, including supporting women’s rights.
On Monday, Oct. 20 the Clarkston Farm and Garden Club and the Springfield Branch of the Women’s National Farm and Garden Club welcomed a longtime leader in women’s rights, Margaret Cadzow of the National Federation of Women’s Institute of England.
A small group of about six ladies introduced Cadzow to Clarkston with a luncheon at the Clarkston Cafe, a tour down Main Street, led by Toni Smith of the Clarkston Historical Society, followed by dessert at the Clarkston Union.
Cadzow is a participant of the Grace E. Frysinger Exchange, a program that allows one Farm and Garden member from the United States and one member from a similar affiliated group from a selected country to each spend a month traveling through the other’s country, staying in members’ homes, sharing culture, and strengthening support of women’s issues. Cadzow is exchanging with Audrey Ehrler of New York.
The exchange is funded through an endowment to the Women’s National Farm and Garden Association, the parent organization to the Clarkston and Springfield groups. Established in 1957, the swap takes place every three years and, in recent years, have included the countries of Ireland, Malaysia and South Africa.
“The thread that binds Clarkston and Springfield women and their organizations with Margaret Cadzow and her organization, and groups in Malaysia, South Africa and many other countries is each group’s common concern for and financial support for women’s rights and welfare especially in underdeveloped areas of the world,” Mary Jane Scharfenkamp said, a member of the Clarkston club. “Each of these groups has banded together and pooled its resources under a parent organization, London-based Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW), to stretch its pennies more effectively.”
Pennies For Friendship, a tradition that began in the 1930’s, funds ACWW efforts.
“The penny, or in its place, the smallest coin of each affiliated group’s country, symbolized a donation that every woman could afford to give to support and address issues threatening women,” Sharfenkamp said. “Clarkston Garden Club members ‘pass the hat’ at each meeting.”
The ACWW efforts have, in one example, led to the establishment of a representative for women’s rights at the United Nations.
Cadzow is the national ACWW representative for England and Wales, and is a member of the ACWW Agriculture Committee. During her visit, she shared with local members ACWW funds have gone to help women and children in developing countries achieve fundamental necessities — water, sanitation, child care, schools and more.
“It’s nice to know the money we’ve sent has really helped support issues in women’s rights throughout the world,” Scharfenkamp said.