Posts Tagged ‘farming’
I have spent a lot of this year asking myself how I can contribute to my community and beyond. As you may know, that has come in the form of publishing Comestible. Creating a platform for telling stories about food and food production has felt like the right thing for me to be doing, a way to contribute to the world in a creative and educational way.
But I wanted that platform to be able to do more. So I called up my friend Audra Mulkern of The Female Farmer Project. I love Audra’s work, and she is an amazing advocate for women farmers and sustainable agriculture.
I had made Audra a papercut inspired by one of her photographs earlier in the year, intending to eventually use it in Comestible. But in instead, it spawned an idea. “What if we did a series of cards and used them to raise money to support female farmers?”
So here we are.
I made three more papercuts inspired by Audra’s original photographs, and we turned them into a series of greeting cards called I Look Like a Farmer. The cards are 5×7″ (so perfect for framing even if you don’t want to send them!) and printed locally in Seattle, WA at woman-owned printing company Girlie Press.
I have been very inspired by the work of Audra Mulkern and her Female Farmer Project. She recently inspired me to write an article about women and farming over on Foodie Underground, titled “Gender Equality and Sustainable Food: The Power of Women Farmers.”
Here’s a little excerpt:
In the U.S., while between 1982 and 2007, the USDA’s Economic Research Service found that the number of women-operated farms had more than doubled, there’s still a gender gap. According to the U.S. Census of Agriculture, 86 percent of the 2.1 million people responsible for day-to-day operations of farms are men. But there are more women coming to the farming world, and in a time when the total number of farms is declining, the number of women-owned farms and women farmers is on the rise. Today women make up about 30 percent of all U.S. farmers – and often, they take a more sustainable approach. Which means that when we think about a more sustainable world of food, not just at home, but globally, we have to be thinking about women.
And if we are going to think about women, then we have to start seeing them too. Audra Mulkern of the Female Farmer Project knows all about that. A talented, self-taught photographer, a couple of years ago, Mulkern decided to launch a projected devoted to documenting the world of women farmers. Inspired by the women farmers in her local Snoqualmie Valley, Mulkern has set out to tell the stories of female farmers. “I noticed over a couple of seasons of visiting farmers markets and farms that there was a marked increase in female interns. I started asking around and decided it was a story I needed to tell,” says Mulkern. Since launching the project, she has photographed women farmers in five different countries, becoming a big advocate for sustainable agriculture and food justice along the way.
You can read the full article here. And I encourage you to give Audra and the Female Farmer Project a follow!
Image: Audra Mulkern
Who hasn’t flipped through an issue of a magazine on green living with tips on urban farming and thought to themselves, “I want to grow my own food”? Who hasn’t watched a short video about a tiny house and thought to themselves, “I want to live like that”? Who hasn’t read an article on consumerism and thought to themselves, “it’s really time that I minimized”?
We’ve all done it, and we’ll continue to do it. This type of media fuels our aspirations. We all want to be eat and live better, be healthier and wiser, choose a path of intention rather than mindless consumption, so we keep reading, clicking and watching, and for a few brief moments we feel better about ourselves. We feel powerful. We feel in control of our lives. Yes, I too can choose to get rid of most of my wardrobe and commit to only seven articles of clothing!
But the danger lies in the fact that consuming this kind of media is a noncommittal act; few of us take the inspiration and turn it into action.
From my recent EcoSalon article “So You Want to Live in A Tiny House and Be a Farmer? Our Obsession With Lifestyles We’ll Never Commit To“
I was thrilled to work on a story for Modern Farmer about the link between dirt and well-being. There’s some very interesting research looking at the benefits of microbes in the environment on human health. Here’s an excerpt:
The psychological benefit of nature has been well documented. When it comes to being happy or not, many studies show that psychiatric problems are more common in urban than in rural communities. That makes Lowry’s and Rook’s research interesting, as it gives us a better understanding of exactly why being outside, in a garden or on a farm, makes us feel good.
“People usually assume that the health benefits of exposure to green space are due to exercise. In fact two large studies now demonstrate that although exercise is definitely good for you, it does not explain the beneficial effect of green space,” says Rook. “Contact with microbial biodiversity is looking like the most probable explanation for the green space effect.”
Just like we’re becoming more and more aware of the benefits of foods with microbes (think: fermented foods with probiotics), being around a lot of different microbes from the earth and animals is good for us too. In other words, sterile environments that are too clean aren’t so great for you.
I was even more excited to see that the piece got picked up and discussed by the New York Times.
Now, on to finding a plot of land to get my hands dirty.
Image: jenny downing