In Her Boots: Sustainable Farming for Women, by Women

Reader Contribution by Alli Langley
article image

The following information is taken from a press release from the MOSES Rural Women’s Project.

Don’t miss four all-day workshops supporting women in sustainable agriculture this summer. The women-led workshop series, hosted by the Rural Women’s Project, a venture of the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) in partnership with The White House Project, will be held on farms in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

These workshops will provide women farmers and food-focused business owners with an inspiring blend of practical information, skill-building, farm tours, resource connections and networking opportunities to encourage and support this growing segment of organic farmers, entrepreneurs and agricultural leaders.

Drawing on the expertise and perspectives of both seasoned and beginning female farmers, participants will dive into the practicalities of successfully running farm and food-based enterprises, including value-added enterprises, land stewardship, risk management through income diversification, and integrating children and family. Opportunities for women in sustainable agriculture to take on leadership roles in transforming our food system will also be discussed.

Each workshop runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and costs $20. Lunch is included and scholarships are available. Preregistration is required — you can register online by clicking on the image that says “Register for Field Days” or call the MOSES office at 715-778-5775.

The first workshop in the 5-part series was last Sunday at Stillpoint Farm in Brooklyn, Wis., and it sold out quickly, so don’t hesitate to register!

Dates and Locations

August 17: Moonstone Farm (Montevideo, Minn.); 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Farm Host and Speaker: Audrey Arner, Moonstone Farm

Key topics:

•Livestock/grass-fed meat operations; controlled grazing


•Land stewardship, edible landscaping

Join pioneering organic farmer and activist, Audrey Arner of Moonstone Farm in West Central Minnesota, and spend a day delving into a variety of on-farm business ventures and practices, including grass-fed meat and controlled grazing, agritourism (B&B), land stewardship practices and edible landscaping. Arner will talk about the important role organic farmers can play in leading and championing this movement by serving various grassroots organizations. Farming with her husband, Richard Handeen, their 240-acre operation continues the Handeen family farming tradition that started on their land in 1872.

August 21: Elsewhere Farm (Herbster, Wis. — Bayfield/Ashland Area); 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Farm Host and Speaker: Clare Hintz, Elsewhere Farm

Key topics:


•Perennial fruits & nuts

•Winter greenhouses & hoophouses


Experience Elsewhere Farm in Northern Wisconsin near the Apostle Islands with farmer Clare Hintz, who also serves as the Campus Sustainability Coordinator for Northland College in Ashland, Wis., and is receiving her doctorate in sustainability education and regenerative agriculture. Elsewhere Farm features perennial fruits and nuts, diversified produce, herbs and flowers, and sells to a local CSA and general store. Seasoned in sustainability, Hintz employs a variety of permaculture design techniques and practices as well as a winter greenhouse and hoophouses to extend the growing season.

August 23: Holm Girls Dairy (Elk Mound, Wis. — Eau Claire area); 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Farm Host and Speakers: Mariann Holm and her daughters

Key topics:

•Organic dairy

•Family business management


Connect with a family passionate about organic dairy: Holm Girls Dairy in central Wisconsin just outside Eau Claire. This “mother-and-six-daughter team,” along with her husband Doran, milk 35 cows and are part of the Organic Valley Family of Farms Cooperative. The farm tour covers pasture aspects of rotational grazing, milking procedures and holistic herd health management. Committed to their family farm, Mariann and her daughters will also share perspectives and advice on integrating and balancing family into your farm operation.

September 11: Special session in partnership with the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute; 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Key topics:

•Vegetable production and harvesting

•Eating local year-round

•New culinary approaches to vegetables

•Starting a value-added food business and cottage food opportunities

Celebrate the flavorful abundance of the season with a special session with the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (MFAI) dedicated to farm fresh produce. This workshop is for both women vegetable farmers and those looking to potentially start such an operation, as well as food enthusiasts interested in personally eating more seasonal and local year-round. The morning session of this workshop features “How to Use In-Season Vegetables From CSA Boxes” with preservation and cooking tips, ideas and recipes from area vegetable farmers, followed by a local food lunch and detailed farm tour of the diversified MFAI operations. Additionally, this workshop provides an overview of and start-up tips for value-added food businesses with a particular focus on utilizing new “cottage food legislation,” which allows small-scale food processing in home kitchens for public sale.

Photo Credit: Fotolia