Join Women of Agriculture from all over North Carolina
Female farmers are the fastest growing population owning and operating small farms nationwide. For the past twenty-five years, large traditional farms have been in decline; by contrast, the number of farms run by women has increased almost ninety percent. More than a quarter-million women operate farms in the United States, primarily small farms, and our numbers are increasing. In fact, small-scale farming has become the hallmark of female farmers.
Today's female farmer is a bit unusual with a different philosophy and approach: holistic, easy on the land and committed to safe and natural growing practices, it is a kinder, gentler method of agricultural production that discards the cloak of traditional farming methods. more...
The twenty-first century belongs to women of agriculture, creating a revolution with a female voice to be heard. They are at the forefront of this revolution as innovators creating specialty markets and alternative enterprises. It is artisanal farming, an exciting, new type of agriculture, with a vibrant and fresh integration of art and skill.
Still, there are many challenges and constraints unique to female farmers that limit their productivity and economic viability, including lack of experience, training and skills; lack of resources and materials; unequal access to credit, few leadership positions in their rural communities and a sense of isolation. Moreover, there is the challenge of age: the average age of a female farmer is in her mid-50s. Thus, there is an urgency to train and support a new crop of women for the next generation of farmers.
The Farm School
Why a Farm-Training Program Just for Women?
The Farm School for Women is a small farm-training program designed specifically for women who, through knowledge and experience, value their connection to the land, have a passion for sustainable agriculture and are committed to the values of small scale farming. Students can expect introductory but intense class and fieldwork in many aspects of agriculture and discussions leading to extensive on-farm learning and working the land.
It is a curriculum based on agricultural educational programs that includes fields of study offering practical farm training: from setting goals to business planning to nurturing crops and livestock to harvesting, marketing and homesteading. Our goal is to train new and beginning female farmers in the art and skill of working the land and bringing products to market successfully. more...
We believe in total immersion on the farm. Students live on the farm and participate in all classes offered. The school offers a structured curriculum of seminars, on-farm workshops, field trips, specialty training and independent projects. Over an eight- month period, students will participate in more than 1200 hours of class and experiential fieldwork.
Students are required to create a business plan; organize and sell the produce they grow at a local Farmers' Market, and give back to their community through education and outreach. A trademark of the program is mentoring -- working with a niche farmer to further the student's education (for example: cheese making). Our program also provides support and a rich learning environment for each graduate so that she can be confident in her capabilities to enter the growing field of small-scale farming and sustainable agriculture.