Unveiling the Trailblazing Spirit of Kristeva Dowling: A Pioneer in Alberta's Honey Wine Industry
Meet Kristeva Dowling, the driving force behind Stolen Harvest Meadery in Alberta. More than just a business owner, Kristeva is a pioneer advocating for conscious consumerism, local support, and environmental responsibility.
Kristeva's journey began with a passion for mead and a commitment to support local farmers. Her award-winning honey wines, crafted with fresh local ingredients, not only provide a high-quality product but also offer educational opportunities to bridge the gap between the community and mead-making.
As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Kristeva is internationally recognized for her products and goes beyond business to advocate for gender equality and food security in Canada. Her book, "Chicken Poop for the Soul," sheds light on our dependence on the food system, as she also aims to make women more aware of the gender equality gap within Canada and their cultures.
Having first arrived in the Peace Region in 1989 to teach scuba diving, Kristeva has since become a vital part of the community, moving back after completing her Master's Degree in New Zealand. Her commitment to the region extends beyond her business, embodying a belief in the power of collaboration and community building.
Kristeva's passion for community stems from her academic pursuits, having conducted research on community economic development and authored a book on the politics of food. She believes in our biological inclination towards cooperation and collaboration, challenging individualistic social norms.
Motivated by a daily awareness of the need for change, Kristeva takes action on various fronts, from aiding the homeless to navigating the bureaucratic challenges of the alcohol industry. As a woman in a male-dominated field, she faced many barriers, overcoming them through self-funding and the support of a dedicated group of friends.
Her community involvement extends beyond the walls of Stolen Harvest Meadery, with contributions to charities, fundraising events, and local initiatives. Kristeva's impact is felt not only through financial donations but also in the relationships she builds and the small acts of kindness she executes, such as giving warm meals and clothes to those in need.
When asked about her influence on others, Kristeva humbly mentions her quiet acts of kindness and hopes her actions speak louder than words. By creating a sense of community at Stolen Harvest, she forms what she lovingly calls Team Stolen Harvest, fostering a feeling of family among regulars and volunteers.
For women aspiring to make a difference, Kristeva offers empowering advice: "Feel the fear and do it anyway! Never compromise your ethics or values and always trust your gut. And never be afraid to walk away from something that doesn’t feel right. Go where you are wanted and welcome. And dream big… If people aren’t laughing at your goals then they aren’t big enough!”
Kristeva's impact goes beyond her immediate community. Through initiatives like donating proceeds to local charities and her dream to position Alberta as the "Napa Valley of Mead," she envisions a lasting legacy of positive change.
Reflecting on her personal journey, Kristeva recognizes the growth and fulfillment that self-employment has brought her. In her 50s, she cherishes the diverse experiences, friendships, and the role of becoming the mentor to younger friends after being mentored for so many years.
As part of the '30 Women for 30 Years' campaign, Kristeva encourages future generations to embrace their dreams, stay focused, and surround themselves with supportive individuals. Her message echoes Gloria Steinem's wisdom: "Become the person you want to marry, for yourself first."
In Kristeva Dowling, Alberta's Peace Region has found not just a business owner but a catalyst for positive change, a fearless advocate for community collaboration, and a woman whose legacy will undoubtedly inspire generations to come.
Learn more about Stolen Harvest Meadery
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