Organic Consumers Association

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Women are Quietly Leading the Food and Farming Revolution in America

Temra Costa puts the spotlight on the women in her first book Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat. She brings together farmers, educators, mothers, chefs, business women and policy wonks, and profiles the work they're doing to cultivate new paths to carry good food from seed to stomach. Costa celebrates the agricultural renaissance taking place and maintains a feminine approach to our food system is what is really driving much of the change.

Tell me a little bit about how you came to write this book? What inspired you?

TC: I had been working with Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) for years and found myself surrounded by women. Even if a farm was run by a couple, it would often be the woman that would be reaching out. It was always in the back of my head as something that was a growing phenomenon; whether I was in meetings or organizing events.

When it became apparent that women were becoming a lot more active as a group, I started to realize this was a trend that had some real meaning for the agricultural community as a whole. Organizations such as the Women Food and Agriculture Network or the Pennsylvania Women's Agricultural Network, have been leading the charge on these initiatives for over a decade.

How did you choose the 30 women profiled in Farmer Jane?

TC: At the time I was writing Farmer Jane, I was also the director of the California Buy Fresh, Buy Local (BFBL), a program of CAFF, and, therefore, was part of a national network with Food Routes who administers the program on a national level. BFBL is actually active in over 40 states. I created a nomination form and asked people to recommend women change-makers in the food and farming community.

The response was amazing. And many were such heartfelt letters. These were inspirational stories that just haven't been told. And people want to know these stories. People want to bring the knowledge of sustainable food and farming home in a more integral way.
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