Fierce Farming Women, Part 1

| 3/11/2015 10:26:00 AM

Tags: women, female farmers, black farmers, Natasha Bowens, Maryland,

Below is an excerpt from the "Fierce Farming Women" chapter of Natasha’s book, The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming:

I have never felt more like a woman than the day I dug my hands into the soil for the first time. I’ll never forget the feeling of my hands after my first season farming. [They were rough and tattered] and I like to think [that] describes the hands of every female farmer out there. It is a description that challenges society’s definition of feminine beauty. However, with women making up over 70 percent of the world’s farmers, I’d say we need to change the picture of feminine beauty to the image of a farmer’s hands.

Women feed the world, we always have. We’ve been the gatherers, the cooks, the ones to provide milk to our babies, the nutritionists, the healers, and even the farmers. According to the International Center for Research on Women, rural women produce 80 percent of the world’s food. That’s an astounding contribution to the survival of humanity. To have ownership over such a vital contribution is something to praise.

And praising women farming is exactly the focus of this piece. In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, I’ll be sharing a series of excerpts from some of my favorite women’s stories in The Color of Food. Prepare to meet some fierce farming women.


Meet Sandra Simone, a mother, widow, and jazz singer who is raising goats on her family’s historic land that grows wild with huckleberries. Sandra owns and operates Huckleberry Hill Farm in Talladega County, Alabama. Below is an excerpt from Sandra's story entitled “Alabama Strong” :

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