In 1930, Dr. Henry Turner Bailey designed the ‘spade and distaff’ logo of the Woman’s National Farm & Garden Association. We all recognize the spade or shovel on the left of the logo. But, what’s a distaff?
From biblical times to the industrial revolution, a distaff was used to spin thread. A short staff topped with a bundle of wool or flax fibers, a distaff was held in one hand, while, the other hand twisted fibers into thread spun around a spindle. Responsible for making every thread her family would wear, a woman’s hands were never idle. The distaff came to be the symbol for the work or domain of women. Together, the spade and distaff represent the tools of gardening and spinning — outdoor and indoor activities associated with the life of country women.
- We enjoy personal enrichment through gardening, growth and use of herbs, flower arranging, crafts and increasing knowledge of the natural world in which we live.
- We get involved in our communities through beautification projects, and conservation and ecology programs.
- We develop friendships with those who share our enthusiasm to enrich our communities.
- We offer scholarships to qualifying students interested in agriculture and natural resources.
The Michigan Division offers an identity to branches and provides them a base to carry out activities which they could not accomplish alone; made possible by an economy of scale, a broader pool of expertise and experience, and a sense of community and support.
The sense of community is demonstrated by our vision to establish endowments at the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum and the Michigan 4-H Foundation; and our base of scholarships to encourage and provide opportunity for study in the areas of horticulture, agriculture and the environment. Donations to scholarships and distributions to existing funds total $100,000 yearly.
Look beyond your four walls or city limits and expand your horizons! Join an organization with a compelling mission and membership. You’ll find membership information here.