As you gaze over our bucolic rural landscape and farmland, you may not realize there is an emerging new leader in championing conservation practices: women landowners. According to data from Iowa State University, over 47 percent of the farmland is owned or co-owned by women. A growing number of these women are sole owners, often senior and widowed landowners who inherited family farmland and are interested in sustainable and organic practices but may be for the first time be in a decision-making position for their land.
This statistic sparked the innovative training program, Women Caring for the Land, tailored to supporting women in achieving conservation goals. Created by the Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN), Women Caring for the Land has expanded into seven upper Midwest states, with workshops and meetings hosted by partner organizations in each state.
The Women Caring for the Land format roots in the idea that women have known all along: We learn best from each other. Based on networking and peer-to-peer sharing, these free sessions bring small groups of area women together in a facilitated morning format that enables these landowners to meet with female conservation professionals to discuss their goals for improving air, water and soil quality on their land and to engage in different activities that teach conservation principles. After lunch, participants go on a guided tour of area farmland to see these principles and practices in action.
With nearly half of the land owned or co-owned by women, we’re proud that the Women Caring for the Land exists to provide female landowners with support, advice and encouragement – woman to woman.
Farmer, author, agriculture advocate, innkeeper, parent and zucchini enthusiast. Lisa Kivirist thrives on diversity, rooted on her family’s Wisconsin farm, Inn Serendipity, completely powered by renewable energy and nationally recognized as a showplace for sustainable living and local cuisine. Co-author of Farmstead Chef, Rural Renaissance and Ecopreneuring, Lisa coordinates the award-winning Rural Women’s Project, a venture of the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) championing women farmers.