Women Farmers

aMoore2When we think about farmers, here in Saskatchewan, we tend to think of a younger man operating a tractor or a combine over thousands of acres. In fact many of their wives, sisters, and daughters are just as involved in the farming operation as the men. (Photo credit to Yvette Moore, illustrator of The Prairie Alphabet; probably one of the best children’s books ever written for adults. Permission requested.)

Much of the world’s food supply is grown by women, working small plots of land. They are growing food to supply their families’ nutrition and income needs. Unfortunately in many places their efforts are impacted negatively because they have no access to the education and resources that would help them improve the productivity of their farming operations. In spite of that, they are doing something to improve their food security.

Parents and teachers in schools in developing countries are setting up vegetable gardens and teaching children to grow food. Sometimes they have some help with these initiatives from international aid agencies. Read about this one in Cambodia.

cambodia school garden

Improving food security may be why we are also gardening more. According to Hutchinson News (2016) “It’s estimated that during the past decade several million new household gardens have been planned, planted, and tended by first-time gardening families in the U.S.

Though this may be a new experience for many, in some ways it’s a repeat of an earlier effort made 75 years ago, when a financial depression and a world war brought many Americans ‘back to the land’ in the form of backyard plots called Victory Gardens.

In 1943 more than 20 million gardens were planted to provide fresh fruits and vegetables on the home front. During World War II much of the commercially produced food was used to feed the troops. In the face of shortages and rationing, Americans turned lawns and flower beds into garden plots. City dwellers were able to get into the act by planting container gardens on rooftops and fire escapes. Community gardens were developed in vacant lots or on land in public spaces. Some of the biggest public gardens were located in New York’s Central Park, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and across the pond in Hyde Park in London. Actually, the Brits were the first to start growing their own food in 1940. As the war escalated, the movement spread throughout Canada and the U.S., as ordinary citizens did their part to support the war effort.”

I’d be willing to bet that most of those “ordinary citizens” in Britain, Canada and the USA were women.

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