The New York Times recently ran an article exploring the predominance of women involved in urban farming. Traditional American images of a farmer might tend to hover around a weathered, 50 year old white man. After pointing out the wide range of reasons why women love getting their hands in the dirt and growing food in their communities, The Times suggests, “…if you’re looking for a farm-fresh tomato in the city this summer, you’re likely to find a woman growing it.”
Women growing food is nothing new (we Americans tend to forget that 80% of the world’s agricultural labor force is comprised of women), but perhaps the media coverage of farming women has evolved through the years. This 1899 Montana newspaper article highlights “Women and Their Ways.”
Amongst articles on fashion, weddings, dinner parties, and frontier etiquette, one small section praises women farmers for their “pluck and perseverance.” A one Mrs. Lembach was especially noted for having turned around her husband’s farm after his death. “A lone woman, unlettered and obscure…achieved success in a field of endeavor generally esteemed too laborious for her sex.” How flattering.
Women have always had more than just pluck and perseverance, and we’re happy to see news stories that reflect the strength, wisdom, and multifaceted nature of adventurous women.