10 Inspiring Women Farmers You Should Know
In honor of Women’s History Month, what better time to celebrate the millions of women who are so vital to our food system? Globally, women make up half of the agricultural workforce, and more than 700,000 women work in the fields in the United States. According to the latest Ag Census, women are 30 percent of farm operators, making them one of the fastest growing groups of farmers.
Though certainly not a comprehensive list, here are a few of the hardworking women farmers you can support at CUESA’s farmers markets. (Be sure to also support these 20 innovative women-led food businesses at our markets, too!)
Janet Brown, Allstar Organics
Cofounder of Allstar Organics in Marin, Janet Brown has been farming organic vegetables and creating unique farm products for the last 20 years. She has also actively worked to support farmers, food access, and healthy communities in Marin County through her workas part of the Marin Food Policy Council, Marin Organic, and the Center for Ecoliteracy. Saturdays, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Rachel de Rosa of Casa Rosa Farms and Susan Muller Pasture 42 have teamed up to offer their pasture-raised meats, olive oil, vinegar, soaps, and wools, all sourced from their Capay Valley farms. Both the da Rosas and the Mullers come from families that have been farming in the Central Valley for generations. The farmers share a commitment to raising pastured animals. “There’s very little you can mechanize when you’re caring for animals; there’s no substitute for a human being,” says Rachel. Saturdays, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Lorraine Walker, Eatwell Farm
One of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market founding farms, Eatwell Farm grows a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and sells many specialty products made from the lavender and other herbs they grow. The farm also sells pasture-raised eggs. Eatwell also operates a sizable community supported agriculture (CSA) program. The founding farmer, Nigel Walker, passed away in 2017, but his wife, Lorraine, and the Eatwell family carry on the Eatwell legacy. Saturdays, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Aomboon Deasy, K&J Orchards
The daughter of Kalayada Ammatya and James Beutel (K&J), Aomboon “Boonie” Deasy has carried on the family legacy in partnership with her husband, Tim, and been a driving force in marketing the farm and developing their strong following among Bay Area chefs. The diverse farm sells its tree-ripened fruits to more than 150 restaurants, such as Benu and the French Laundry. Saturdays and Tuesdays, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Moira Kuhn, Marin Roots Farm
Having previously worked at County Line Harvest, Moira Kuhn now farms at Marin Roots Farm in Petaluma with her husband, Jesse. She has helped build the farm’s restaurant clientele, while innovating and helping to develop the farm’s niche with specialty crops like edible flowers. Why does she love farming? “I love the challenge, and I love that farming is all-consuming. It’s your entire life.” Saturdays, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Raquel Krach, Massa Organics
Originally trained as a tropical biologist, Raquel became drawn to sustainable agriculture and agroecology, which led her move with her husband, Greg, back to his family’s farm. They grow rice and almonds and raise pigs and sheep in a diverse ecosystem, applying their love ecology to make the farm more environmentally sustainable. Saturdays, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Sandi and Sarah McGinnis, McGinnis Ranch
Aunt-and-niece team Sandi McGinnis-Garcia and Sara Evett took over Sandi’s father’s farm, ushering in a new era by transitioning to organic and experimenting with new crops and cut flowers. “Giving back to the land but also providing people with fresh food feels good at the end of the day,” says Sara. “I think a lot of people think that it would be a thankless job, but it is not at all. I couldn’t ask for more.” Saturdays and Tuesdays, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Jill Gammons, Four Sisters Farm
Robin and Nancy Gammons began farming in Aromas in the 1970s, and they named their farm after their four daughters: Lucy, Jill, Dusty, and Prema. One of their four daughters, Jill, is now following in her parents’ footsteps and has begun a flower-growing project of her own on the farm. The Gammons’ approach to farming has always been organic and ecological, and they have a strong commitment to maintaining a natural, healthy ecosystem on their property. Saturdays, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Mollie Sitkin, Old Dog Ranch
Fourth-generation farmer Mollie Sitkin has helped to continue and grow her family farm by introducing new crops and beehives, supporting and the farm’s organic transition, and developing Old Dog’s value-added product line of walnut snacks through direct sales at farmers markets. Saturdays, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Marsha Habib, Oya Organics
Marsha Habib started farming as a one-woman, one-acre operation to serve her community and create urban and rural connections. Oya Organics gradually grew to more acreage as her partner, Modesto, and other people joined the farm. They now run a fully diversified farm with about a dozen employees. “I don’t want us to get big and just keep growing and growing,” she says. “I want to be at a scale where I know every acre of the farm and have a personal relationship with the plants and employees.” Saturdays, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Dede Bois, Root Down Farm
First-generation farmer Dede Bois started her own ranch in Pescadero to do her part in combatting the negative impacts of industrial animal agriculture. Today, Root Down Farm is a diverse, pasture-based farm that raises heritage chickens, turkeys, ducks, and pigs. “Even though my farm is just a teeny tiny drop of change, I am trying to do the best I can to raise animals in a way that is healthy for each creature, the land, and the bellies they feed,” says Dede. Saturdays, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Finn Oakes and Lauren Anderson, Steadfast Herbs
Farmer-herbalists Finn and Lauren of Steadfast Herbs support folks in taking care of themselves and each other through handmade tinctures, teas, and salves. They cultivate their own organic herbs at Root Down Farm in Pescadero, and source other organic and local materials as often as possible. Saturdays, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, and Thursdays, Mission Community Market.
This article was originally posted on CUESA.