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.
Amplify Our Voices 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.
Women make up one of the fastest growing groups of new farmers today. Research suggestes they are also more likely then men to champion organic and sustainable agriculture, land stewardship, and are creating healthy food systems. However, we need more of these women’s inspiring voices in the media to amplify advocacy and continue growining the organic movement and market. Encouraging more press coverage of today’s organic women farmers will help relay why organics are important while cultivating new and broader consumer markets.
This toolkit celebrates women’s unique communication strengths. It provides advice and perspectives from female communications experts, farmers and others promoting a diversity of voices that value family farms, local food, and healthy soils.
Click on the cover to read and download the full toolkit or just the individual subject areas you are interested in. There you will find ideas and inspiration on how to effectively champion your unique story to promote your farm business while moving the collaborative organic message forward.
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, Around the Farm Table, 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.
Learn more about Soil Sisters at soilsistershub.org
WiWiC is a state-wide collaborative effort led by the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in partnership with Renewing the Countryside, Marbleseed, and Wisconsin Farmers Union. A five-year multi-faceted project funded by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), WiWiC brings together Wisconsin women landowners to learn about conservation practices, resources, and funding opportunities.
Women landowners are a growing demographic. The 2017 Census recorded 38,509 female producers in Wisconsin, showing that women make up 35 percent of all producers in the state. But women have been and still are underserved by NRCS and other federal and state conservation agencies. Women conservationists are also underrepresented in media and historical content.
WiWiC aims to change all that.
WiWiC is here to connect women, empower women, educate women, and inspire women—for the sake of the land but also because of the great satisfaction and healing we experience through stewardship. We are here to nurture our land and ourselves. Join us!
Learn more about WiWiC at wiwic.org
GO FARM CONNECT is a three-year project led by Renewing the Countryside and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), whose aim is to connect farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin with USDA resources. Our wide network of peer Connectors spread across the region provides one-on-one support to beginning and historically under-represented farmers to help them access the wide range of programs at USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Farmers who work with our Connectors learn about USDA services through individual peer mentoring, workshops, farm field days, and group informational visits to USDA service centers.
This project specifically supports beginning and historically underserved farmers, which the USDA defines as belonging to a group “whose members have been subject to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice … without regard to their individual qualities.” The existence of such prejudice has prevented women and People of Color from accessing USDA services for which they were or could have been eligible. This project aims to remedy this inequitable gap in federal support for US farmers.
Learn more about Go Farm Connect at gofarmconnect.org
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 at renewingthecountryside.org/women_in_ag_blog
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
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