Grit Blogs > Newfangled Farmer

Women in Farming

By Wendy Boe

Tags: Wennepher Farms, WI women in agriculture, great-grandma's farm,

Wendy BoeI was recently asked by my local news station to conduct an interview about women in farming. The reporter asked why I thought women farmers are growing in the United States. I answered because farming as an industry is changing.

This isn’t your grandmother’s farm, this is your great-grandmother’s farm! Small, backyard farms are on the rise. Farming is no longer just “big agriculture,” where they have huge equipment doing all the work and the animals are confined to small spaces. That, to me, is “man” type farming. I picture a little boy playing with a big Tonka Truck and John Deere Tractor, dreaming about the day he is able to drive the life-sized models through corn and soy fields. Although technology has advanced so much in industrial farming, even the tractors and equipment are all now automated — no human element is needed; they are all controlled by GPS systems.    

Women play a key role in modern farming. We are connecting with the earth and our food — just like great-grandma’s farm. Back then, it wasn’t called organic farming, it was simply "farming". The monocropping of soy and corn has depleted our land so that nothing grows naturally on it anymore. We are spraying more and more pesticides and herbicides on genetically altered seeds to create “fake food” that does not regenerate. Is this farming? I think not.

Smaller farms such as mine seek to build soil and leave the land in much better condition than how it was found. Our farm is home to small groups of heritage breed animals that all play a synergistic and holistic role — the pigs rototill the soil so it can be cover cropped, lush vegetation and grasses grow, then the cows and the sheep graze (on different grasses), and we finish with the chickens spreading around the fertilizer to make the soil nutrient-dense in order to plant a market garden. The result? Healthy, happy livestock, living outside with nature, working together to provide the cleanest, nutrient-dense, real food.

I just read an article that by the year 2025, 1 out of 2 children will be born with autism, and they are tracing the rise of autism and autoimmune disease to our food chain — industrial farming. I really encourage everyone to start growing their own food. Urban community gardens and backyard chickens are going to save the world and the human race!

Woman with basket of veggies
Photo by Fotolia/NOBU