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Women-Run Meat Co-op Bands Ranchers Together

If farmers are known for their independent streak, four women in Yolo County, California are challenging the assumption that going at it alone is always better. Starting this summer they will join forces to offer customers premium pastured meats through the new Capay Valley Meat Co-op.

The women, who all farm about a mile from one another with their husbands, will use the co-op to buy supplies in bulk and carpool their animals to the slaughterhouse. Alexis Robertson from Skyelark Ranch, Rachel de Rosa from Casa Rosa Farm, Lisa Leonard from Windancer Ranch and Katy Vigil from Creekside Ranch will take turns selling at markets so that they can spend more time on their farms with their families. It’s a model that if successful could have major benefits for other small-scale livestock growers. Read more

FarmHer: Images of Women in Agriculture

Marji Guyler-Alaniz has spent the last nine months documenting women farmers for her ongoing photography project, FarmHer.

“My goal is to capture the beauty in the every day and my style is to show who these women are through subtleties,” says the Iowa-based photographer. It’s an important goal at a time when the number of female farmers is on the rise, women now make up 30 percent of U.S. farmers, and many women are approaching this work in sustainable, creative, and mold-breaking ways. Read more

Faces & Visions of the Food Movement: Denise O’Brien

Denise O’Brien is a farmer and community organizer from Atlantic, Iowa. She has farmed with her husband, Larry Harris, for 37 years in the southwest of the state and maintains 16 acres of fruit and vegetable production. Denise also raises turkeys and chickens for market.

For over 30 years Denise has helped develop agriculture policy on the state, national and international level working specifically on local food systems and conservation issues. She is the founder of Women Food and Agriculture Network and recently returned home after a year working as an USDA agriculture adviser in Afghanistan.

Denise has spent years as an activist farmer, raising children and crops, milking cows and being politically engaged. Now, she wants to restore prairie, save seeds, support women landowners and encourage the next generation of women activists. Read more

International Women’s Day: 12 Innovations that are Helping Women Nourish the Planet

Women have proven to be a powerful force in the fight against global hunger and poverty, especially in agriculture. Worldwide roughly 1.6 billion women rely on farming for their livelihoods, and female farmers produce more than half of the world’s food. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, women account for 75 percent of all the agricultural producers. Today we observe International Women’s Day, a global celebration and recognition of women’s achievements.  Read more

Women in Agriculture, By the Numbers

Big Ag is big business–and big profits. And when anyone raises questions about the billions of tax dollars lavished on the largest industrial growers of corn, soybeans and other commodity crops or points out the harm that these perverse incentives do to the environment, Big Ag’s lackeys lash out.

But bullying your critics and worried consumers is not always the best public relations strategy. Sometimes you need to cultivate the softer sell. Read more

Profiling Women Changing the Way We Eat: Molly Rockamann

Temra Costa is a sustainable food and farming advocate and author of Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat. Civil Eats will feature her profiles of some of America’s women farmers and food advocates over the coming weeks.

Molly Rockamann (pictured: Karen, Molly, Vicki, Danielle) will forever be remembered as the apprentice at UC Santa Cruz’s Farm and Garden Program that made “Farm Grease, The Musical,” happen. This 28 year-old farmer grew up playing in the racks of her grandmother’s costume shop and with a family that made variety shows a priority at nearly all functions. So it’s not surprising that Molly continues to weave art, dance, and music into her farm in Ferguson, Missouri. Read more