Shattering The Stereotypical View of Farmers

Categories: On The Farm

The Female Farmer Project documents the rise of women in agriculture. This is a chronicle of stories of female farmers who are tasked with family, farm, often an outside job, and are creating change in our food systems.

When most people think of a farmer, they might envision an Old MacDonald type in a straw hat — but that’s far from reality. 

The Female Farmer Project is shattering the stereotypical image of a farmer by showing exactly who America’s agricultural workers really are: women. 

“It wasn’t until I saw the absence of men that I challenged my own stereotypes.”

Margaret De Bona and Tracy Potter-Fins met while working at a farm in New York. This year marks their sixth season farming in Montana.

Photographer Audra Mulkern was shopping in her local farmer’s market in 2012 when she noticed something about the farm interns: all of them were women.

“It wasn’t until I saw the absence of men that I challenged my own stereotypes [around farming],” Mulkern told The Huffington Post.

Mulkern spent the next three years traveling the country to capture images of female farmers, whose stories often go untold.

“This project disrupts the idea of what women’s work is, and what a farmer looks like,” Mulkern said. 

Around one in three farmers in the U.S. are women, according to the USDA. In some states, like Arizona, they make up almost half of farmers.

But as in most industries, the higher up you go, the fewer women you see: Women only control seven percent of U.S. farmland, according to the USDA.

Yolanda Hernandez is a member of the field crew at Oxbow Farm in Carnation, Washington. 

These five photographs capture just a handful of the fierce women farmers who help feed the country — but who we all too often forget. 

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