As a professional female farmer who works day in and day out with my husband running Green Toe Ground (our farm and business), I rarely get the time I’d like to speak to and connect with other women farmers. The one time in the week when I could potentially do some visiting is at farmer’s market, but ironically all the women farmers are at my husband’s market, while at my market, it’s all the guy farmers! In early July I was able to host a mini gathering of women farmers who farm in my valley and county. These women live in my community, but I still rarely see them! We took an evening to commune over food and twilight.
It seems so important to me as a woman in a profession often dominated by men, that women get together to share stories, ask questions, and get to know one another. It is different than when I talk to male farmers, which I do each week at market. I can shoot the breeze like the best of ‘em, talk about crop failures, pests, weeds, etc., but I can only connect so far talking about crops and machinery. What I really crave is deeper. I want to know I have a shared experience with others. That when I am pulling out my hair or feeling frustrated, that I am not alone. Women more easily share the hard stuff (in my experience) and it is affirming to feel heard and to listen. We have so much advice to offer each other on working with partners, juggling children, managing customers, accounts, and life in general!
We each shared our farm story and I learned how each of us got into farming, one way or another, most of us with a partner. We told our tales, compared work styles and schedules, talked shop a bit, and sat until it got too dark to see each other and the stars were out. Time got away from us, a luxury we are not often afforded in our day to day. And that’s what it was — a time apart, to connect and relax and join together in this great work we do — farming.
Author: Nicole DelCogliano
Nicole DelCogliano is Farmer Program Coordinator at OGS. She teaches the year long Farm Beginnings program to new and beginning farmers. She also farms in Yancey County with her husband, at Green Toe Ground farm.