the irresistible fleet of bicycles

the femme farmer project

Leave a comment


In the past three decades, the number of women-operated farms has increased substantially in the nation. Between 1978 and 2007, according to the agency’s Economic Research Service, the number of women-operated farms in the U.S. grew from 306,200 to nearly a million.

My interest was instantly piqued: Who are these women? I wondered.

My mind’s eye filled with sepia images. They were of Willa Cather’s lonely and moody heroines on the endless Nebraska plains. There was the iconic Isak Dinesen, my own heroine: betrayed and bankrupt and yet silently, painstakingly detailing the crucible and hope of her Kenyan coffee plantation, alone. I thought about what would motivate a woman to take on an enterprise like a farm today, in America, knowing full well the financial risk and unavoidable, back-breaking work.

My first port-of-call was the USDA’s Economic Research Service, and after some twists and turns, I found my way to James Williamson, one of the lead economists/statisticians who had authored the report. After he explained to me how the numbers were derived and interpreted, I pressed for more detail, again: Who are these women?

To read more from this wonderful journalist, click HERE!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s