Mestranda Márcia Treidler at her ABADÁ-Capoeira studio.

The 10 Women Campaign will honor 10 women Saturday at ODC for their work as bridge builders who bring together disparate communities.

The award recipients include Mestranda Márcia “Cigarra” Treidler,  the president and artistic director of ABADÁ-Capoeira in San Francisco and Karen Heisler co-owner of Mission Pie and co-founder of Pie Ranch.

“The quiet and persistent activism of these women is deep and unquestionable moving forward,” said Jo Keiter the founder of Flyaway who launched the idea of The 10 Women Campaign seven years ago.

Building Bridges Between the Urban and the Rural

“Sometimes I feel I was born at the wrong time,” said Karen Heisler referring to what she calls the dominance of commercialism

Karen Heisler having fun while working at Mission Pie.

and degradation of self-sufficiency. But then she changes her mind and decides, no, now is exactly the right time.  “We are on the brink of finding more collaborative models,” she said.

Heisler, a San Francisco native, earned a degree in Conservation and Resource Studies from UC Berkeley in 1991 and went to work for a Federal Environmental Agency. Although her job was satisfying, she decided that government policy alone would not solve our problems.

“I wanted to work at a ground level with people,” she said.

In 2002 Heisler, Nancy Vail and Jered Lawson purchased 14-acres in Pescadero, CA. Their vision was to use the property as a non-profit and teach food system education while practicing sustainable farming. The wedge-like shape of the land gave the land its name, Pie Ranch.

Since 2005, Pie Ranch has operated as a working farm, hosting youth from regional high schools to participate in farming including Mission High School and now John O’Connell High as well.

When students begin, Heisler said, they have fears—of bugs or dirt.  “But then, being in the farming environment, they start to tune in and feel a sense of community and love.”

Kids learn to do physical work together, farm, bake and cook fresh food. Heisler said she sees dramatic changes in their eating habits and in their  relationships with one another.

Apart from Pie Ranch, Heisler is the co-owner of Mission Pie, a bakery and coffee house at the corner of 25th and Mission streets.

The food there is fresh and organic, they recycle and compost, and they buy and collaborate with nearby organic farms, Heisler said.  “We want the farms in the area to thrive,” she said.

Students too. Mission Pie hires at risk youth interns.

Heisler said she is no farmer but “ just a person with a love and a value for agriculture.”

Building Bridges Between Cultures

Márcia Treidler was 17-years old when she started training in Capoeira in her native Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She didn’t have a female role model. Back then, much more than now, the martial art was male dominated, but Treider persevered.

“The bumps in the road made me better and stronger,” she said remembering those years.

After 15 years of training she became “Mestranda,” the second highest level for a Capoeira teacher of ABADÁ-Capoeira, a form that integrates two traditional styles of this art.

Capoeira is an afro-Brazilian martial art believed to have been developed by slaves. It involves singing and playing musical instruments as well as physical training— a mixture between a dance and a fight.

Today Treider is known by Mestranda Márcia or “Cigarra” a capoeira nickname that means cicada.  Her studio is on the second floor at 22nd and Mission streets.

“Whether they are doctors or undocumented immigrants, here they find a place of hope,” Treider said of her students.

The Mestranda first came to the United States as a performer in 1991 and soon after moved here. She was the first Brazilian to teach ABADÁ-Capoeira in the United States and she is now the regional leader of this form. In 1997 she was granted permanent residency in the United States after receiving a National Interest Waiver as an “Alien with Extraordinary Abilities.”

Her school operates as a non-profit that promotes Brazilian culture. Treider runs a free program for Brazilians and free to low cost classes for children and youth.  One of her  her goals is to enrich disadvantaged communities and the lives of people from all backgrounds. “The only purpose that we have here is to make you a better person,” Treider said.

Heisler , Treidler and eight other women will  receive their awards this Saturday at ODC Dance Commons. For more info go to

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Veronica Moscoso

Veronica Moscoso, is an Ecuadorian storyteller who narrates through radio, video, and short stories. She lived in the Middle East, South East Asia and now in California.

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