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 MOSES Rural Women’s Project champions these women by providing networking and educational opportunities, including the acclaimed peer-led series In Her Boots: Sustainable Farming For Women, By Women.
According to the 2012 USDA Agriculture Census, 30% of farmers in the U.S. are women, 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, making this 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 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. 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 advocate for women in sustainable agriculture, Lisa founded and leads the MOSES Rural Women’s Project, providing resources for women farmers and food-based ecopreneurs. She is the author of the new book, Soil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers and is a Senior Fellow, Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems at the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Minnesota. She and her husband, John Ivanko, are co-authors of Homemade for Sale, Farmstead Chef, ECOpreneuring and Rural Renaissance. Lisa and John and their son, Liam, run Inn Serendipity Farm and Bed & Breakfast, an award-winning diversified farm operation,completely powered by the wind and the sun, nestled in the rolling green hills of southern Wisconsin.