Women have been growing and harvesting crops, plowing fields, and milking cows since humans started farming.
Women ran the farms when their husbands went off to war. Women fed the nation during tumultuous times.
But women farmers weren’t even kept track of in the census until 1978!
Women have always been farmers (whether they were acknowledged or not) and now there’s a book just for us!
Equal parts practical tips and big-dream-inspiration, Lisa Kivirist’s Book Soil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers addresses the specific challenges and opportunities of women farmers with insight and enthusiasm.
(Note: I was given a copy of this book (and one to give away!) in exchange for an honest review)
Though women farmer’s come up against many challenges that Kivirist provides answers to, she spends much of the book celebrating the benefits of women farmers.
Women farmers are changing the landscape of farming. Women farmer’s are more likely to incorporate arts, crafts, food service, and Inn services into their business model.
They are more likely to grow organically, offer specialty products, and treat their work as a service to the community. Women farmers are more likely to grow diverse crops on a small scale and much less likely to grow mono-crops that ruin the soil and surrounding environment.
It seems that the future of sustainable farming, may be, at least in part, in the hands of women.
Kivirist organizes the information beautifully so that it is both easy to digest and easy to come back to after a few days (which inevitably happens when you’re a mom… or a farmer).
It truly is a toolkit because its jam packed with information and will be a great resource if and when I start my own farm.
Kivirist makes it clear that education doesn’t need to be formal when learning to farm. There are local and online classes, conferences, workshops, books, and other farmers to glean knowledge from.
Kivirist herself was not from a farming background and learned it all as she went.
Kivirist gives an excellent outline of good business practices for farm businesses, yet I can’t help but feel like her suggestions transcent industry. Many of the things she recommends are tactics I use (or plan to use) in my blogging business. Some of the topics include:
- Accessing land (through loans, grants etc.)
- Diversification of products and services
- How to use technology to build your brand
Family and Farming
One theme that permeates Soil Sisters is the idea of community, and that you can’t really succeed without it. Luckily we have great access to community online and in our neighborhoods which is something women haven’t always had access to. Kivirist suggests using a regular potluck event to bring together like-minded women in the area.
I particularly appreciate the section on integrating family into the farm life. Women tend to carry most of the weight of family care.
We have to decide how our children can be cared for best while we also do something for ourselves or the world (work, volunteer etc.).
Kivirist knows that there is no better place to raise children than on a farm but that motherhood is it’s own full time job. She offers useful suggestions for integrating these two important jobs like trading a CSA share for babysitting or housecleaning help so you can get farm chores done.
This book is an excellent overview of how women farmers can flourish in the farming industry. It’s an excellent resource for anyone with an entrepreneurial heart and the desire to produce food (even if not commercially).
Want a copy?
Good! I have one for you! Just enter in the rafflecopter below to win.
Terms and Conditions: Winner will be drawn at random via the Rafflecopter. Winner must be 18 and reside in the United States. Once drawn, the winner will be notified via the email address entered and have 72 hours to claim their prize and provide their valid shipping address. If winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be chosen. I am not responsible for books lost in the mail or sent to undeliverable addresses. The winner’s first name and last initial will be published here on this site and on social media accounts. I won’t share your private information with anyone.