Publication Date

Winter 2012

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Ryland White

Abstract

This paper investigates how women farmers in Oregon and Washington define their own identities, realities, and contributions as farmers, and it looks at how those definitions may be changing. Primary data was collected by interviewing 14 women farmers in the states of Oregon and Washington. Participants were selected to represent a variety of age groups, cultural backgrounds, years of experience farming, and farm size and type. Thus, in investigating the experiences of women farmers, the realities of young and beginning farmers; aging farmers; immigrant farmers and farmers of color; and small and family farmers are also explored.

Findings reveal that participants closely link why and how they farm, as well as how they define their own contributions as farmers, to family, community, and land. Interviews suggest that women farmers have become more public in their work and identities as farmers and that in doing so, they are changing the historically masculine image of the farmer. This paper also explores the great variety of barriers participants continue to face in their efforts to build and sustain successful careers and lives as farmers. And findings examine disparities in access to resources experienced disproportionately by beginning farmers new to agriculture and by women farmers of color who were interviewed.

Disciplines

Agriculture | Gender and Sexuality

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