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‘Calling all Farmgirls’
Members of new club seek simpler lifestyle
Mary Ann Witcher, founder of the Georgia Farmgirls, works on a knitting project. - photo by Autumn McBride
The flyer read: “Calling all Farmgirls.”It didn’t take long until there were enough to fill a henhouse.Now the Farmgirls are clucking away in their club, all while quilting, canning, crocheting, crafting and learning about different ways to enjoy a more simple and natural lifestyle.Forsyth County resident Mary Ann Witcher, often known in writing as “MAW,” started the Georgia Farmgirls in June 2009 as a local chapter of the international MaryJane Farmgirls.While Witcher did grow up on a farm, she said it doesn’t take an agrarian past to be a Farmgirl.“All of us want to have a simpler lifestyle,” Witcher said while knitting on a recent afternoon. “That’s our common thread.”The local group, according to its mission statement, “embodies the goals of empowering, promoting and educating women of all ages in vintage methods of homemaking, gardening and achieving an eco-friendly and self-sustaining lifestyle.”The global organization began with an organic lifestyle magazine by the original Farmgirl, MaryJane Butters, and has since grown into an international sisterhood with 773 chapters worldwide.After years of reading the magazine and becoming Sister 600 in the Farmgirls (of 2,071 now), Witcher decided it was time to see if there were any other local women looking for such a group.“I had no earthly idea what it would turn into,” Witcher said. “It just took off instantly.”Four months later, the group had enough members to get their own clubhouse at Bannister Road and Hwy. 9.Witcher named it The Henhouse, after Farmgirls’ online forums, and the group painted it with warm colors.