women in agriculture
Women in Food: Farmer-Turned-State Rep. Chellie Pingree Advocates for Local Farmers and Responsible Food PolicyMarch 29, 2016 | Laura Hurst
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has represented Maine’s First District in the United States Congress since 2008. But before her time as a legislator in Washington, D.C., she worked as a farmer and small business owner on the island of North Haven off the coast of Maine.
Pingree originally hails from Minnesota but arrived in Maine as a teenager. Inspired by the likes of Helen and Scott Nearing, she has made the state home ever since. She graduated from College of the Atlantic and over the years, in addition to running an organic farm, started two businesses: North Island Yarn in 1981 and Nebo Lodge in 2006.
If you’ve ever visited our nation’s capital, you know the metro area isn’t known for sprawling yards and large swaths of greenery. So when Mary Ackley set out to start a Washington, D.C.-based urban farm in late 2014, she had to get creative.
Growing up in Michigan, Ackley’s family instilled a strong love of the outdoors and stewardship of the environment through activities like hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing and camping. Between completing degrees in Civil & Environmental Engineering and Natural Resources Management, she volunteered for the Peace Corps in Fiji. Eventually she embarked on a career as a foreign service officer, where she helped start a small urban garden in Sri Lanka. Eager to learn more about sustainable farming methods, she then applied—and was rejected—for an internship at Joel Salatin’s famed Polyface farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.
Eager to learn more about sustainable farming methods, she then applied—and was rejected—for an internship at Joel Salatin’s famed Polyface farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.
Kim Doughty is an urban farmer and member of the Arkansas GardenCorps. But she came to farming in a roundabout way.
While Doughty grew up in a family that valued gardening, she only became interested in the local food movement later in life after getting exposure to a farmers’ market that was located near her home.
Seedstock recently interviewed Doughty to learn more about what motivated her to join the local food movement, promote nutrition education to fight childhood obesity and pursue her urban farming dream.
Amy Hepworth’s life’s passion is feeding people. Back in 1982, Cornell University degree in pomology fresh in hand, she took the reins of Hepworth Farms, a nearly 200-year-old apple farm in New York’s Hudson Valley, and changed everything. Crop diversification was only part of a larger transition to sustainability.
Some said it was economic suicide, others heroism. There were some lean years, but steadfast believers – among them the buyers of Brooklyn’s Park Slope Food Co-op – hung in there and so did the seventh-generation farmer. And just this month, the Cornell Alliance for Science has named Hepworth its Farmer of the Year.
Located in Pierce County, Washingon, Mother Earth Farm is founded on land that has been passed down through generations of women. And now the farm works to inspire new women to join agriculture through its educational program for incarcerated people.
The farm is an integral part of the Emergency Food Network, a nonprofit that aggregates and distributes large amounts of food from the federal government, private donations and grocery surpluses. The organization also leverages its purchasing power to maintain adequate supplies for 73 area food banks.