Renewing the Countryside leads a portfolio of projects that champion women committed to sustainable agriculture, vibrant rural areas and land stewardship. This work uniquely celebrates and roots in the importance of building connections and networks of women to enhance our
communities and food system through a shared value of sustainability, conservation and collaboration and supporting each other.
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Soil Sisters: Cultivating Women Leaders
This award-winning August event is the largest women-farmer led event of its kind in the country, involving a team of Wisconsin women farmers hosting various on-farm workshops, bus tours and culinary events that invite the public to experience rural living and the inspiring stories of Wisconsin women-owned family farms that produce food and fiber while stewarding the landscape.
Featured in a variety of media outlets including Midwest Living, FarmHer TV and Modern Farmer, Soil Sisters received a Top Rural Development Initiative Award from Wisconsin Rural Partners and was named a Local Hero by Edible Madison. This local network consists of over 225 women in the Green County, Wisconsin, area who regularly meet for potlucks and exchange of ideas, learning and inspiration. Soil Sisters advocated to have the first week in August officially proclaimed “Wisconsin Women in Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Week” to bring women farmer stories to the spotlight.
You can learn more about Soil Sisters here: http://soilsisterswi.org
Women Caring for the Land:
Since 2014, RTC has partnered with the national Women, Food, and Agriculture Network,
Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota and other regional partners to expand outreach and assistance to women farmland owners in the Mississippi River Watershed. This work includes hosting “Women Caring for the Land” sessions that focus on improving conservation outreach to female farmland owners and farmers, either directly or through training agriculture and conservation professionals. We provide information on best practices in conservation, as well as resources and assistance available to implement these practices on the land. A special recent initiative targeted absentee women landowners, an overlooked landowner group who own land but do not live there and the challenges and opportunities that brings.
Read our past newsletters here: http://www.renewingthecountryside.org/women_in_ag_blog
Women Farmer Media Toolkit
This new project launching in 2019 is a free Toolkit for women farmers to effectively connect and communicate with the media, particularly related to organics. Topics covered include telling your farm story and communicating to specific media such as print and radio. Thanks to Organic Valley’s Farmers Advocating for Organics Fund/FAFO for their support in this new initiative.
USDA Farm Service Agency FSA Cooperative Agreement
RTC served as a partner to help connect women farmers to the resources and programs
available through the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Historically, FSA has served male, commodity
farmers, and FSA is making an effort to reach more diverse audiences. In this project, we
employed the most effective form of rural communication: trusted conversation between
women neighbors. We found this local network model to work exceptionally well, exceeding
our goal of reaching 800 women farmers in less than a year. We also began to diversify the
power structures that oversee FSA at the county level by encouraging women to run for their
FSA County Committees. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, only 15% of FSA committee members are women. Learn
more about this project here: http://www.renewingthecountryside.org/fsa_outreach