About the Rural Women’s Project
What’s the key ingredient to stimulating the health of our environment, food system, communities and economy? More women farmers leading the way by raising healthy, organic food for our nation’s tables. As the number of women-owned farms and businesses continues to grow, opportunity abounds for women of all backgrounds, ages and interests to craft a livelihood that blends meaning with stewarding the planet and transforming our food system. The Rural Women’s Project, a project the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services (MOSES), champions increasing this voice and impact of women in the organic and sustainable farming and food community by providing networking, educational and training opportunities, including the acclaimed peer-led series: In Her Boots: Sustainable Farming For Women, By Women.
The number of women farmers increased nearly 30% nationally according to the latest USDA agriculture census, making this group one of the fastest growing segments of new farmers with the majority launching organic and sustainable operations for raising fresh, healthy food for local communities. More than 40% of these women are under age 55, a movement that can start to reverse the aging trend of the American farmer. According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, for the past two decades and continuing during the current recession, businesses owned by women continue to grow at two times the rate of all companies.
Despite these trends, few programs and resources exist to target and address the specific needs of women farmers and food-based entrepreneurs, particularly those supporting the organic and sustainable agriculture movement. The Rural Women’s Project, a program of MOSES, was launched in 2009 specifically to provide training, outreach and a voice for women in organic and sustainable agriculture, both in the Midwest and nationally. Since then, The Rural Women’s Project runs a variety of programs to facilitate collaboration and support the growing number of women starting farms and food-based businesses, strengthening local food systems and building committed, engaged partnerships with other non-profits and agencies such as the Wisconsin Farmers Union and the Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN).
For more information, check out our Rural Women’s Project Fact Sheet (PDF).
Lisa Kivirist, Coordinator
A national leader in championing the women in sustainable agriculture movement, Lisa Kivirist serves as a Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Kivirist is co-author, with her husband, John Ivanko, of the award-winning books ECOpreneuring, Rural Renaissance, and the new cookbook, Farmstead Chef. She and her family run Inn Serendipity Farm and Bed & Breakfast outside Monroe, Wisconsin, completely powered by renewable energy and recognized as one of the “Top Ten Eco Destinations in North America.” Kivirist writes for publications such as Hobby Farm Home, Edible Madison and Urban Farm, showcasing the stories of women farmers.