- Crop Production: cover crops, cropping systems, crop rotation, food processing, high tunnels or hoop houses
- Education and Training: farmer to farmer, networking
- Farm Business Management: community-supported agriculture, farmers' markets/farm stands, new enterprise development, value added
- Production Systems: holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture, organic certification, transitioning to organic
- Soil Management: green manures
- Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, local and regional food systems, quality of life, social networks, urban/rural integration
In the “Enhancing Women Farmers’ Understanding of Cover Crops” project, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) will highlight diverse cover crop uses and benefits through four day-long on-farm field days for women. Written articles and podcast recordings will expand the educational reach of the project.Women interested in farming are the fastest growing segment in agriculture. In response to this group’s hunger for information and models for success, MOSES, led by project manager Lisa Kivirist, created the award-winning “Rural Women’s Project” in 2008, since then impacting thousands of women in the Midwest. Building on this success, this proposed project will expand into Illinois and Indiana and continue in Minnesota and Wisconsin, with focused learning on the use and benefits of cover crops in a diversity of women-led farming systems.Through this project 160 participants will learn sustainable practices they can take home to use in their own (or future) operations. A sense of community generated by meeting others in the area with similar interests will empower women to try new sustainable practices in their own farming ventures. These women will represent a wide diversity of farming types and sizes, although the majority will be new (less than 10 year) farmers on smaller (less than 250 acre) farms.
Project objectives from proposal:
•Enhance 160+ women farmers’ understanding of the diversity of uses and benefits of cover crops.
•Expose women farmers in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota to successful women-run sustainable farms.
•Create opportunity for connection between women interested in sustainable farming in each state.
•Provide ongoing informational resources about the use of cover crops on four women-led farms in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
•Continue further educational outreach and women farmer connection by documenting the host farmer story and production practices through podcasts, written articles and on-line resources.
At the completion of the project, we expect to find that:
1. 160+ women farmers will better understand the diversity of uses and benefits of cover crops and how they could be used in their own operations.
2. 80 women will tell us that they expect to try using cover crops in their operations.
3. 160+ women interested in sustainable farming will feel a sense of community with others in their area.
4. Over 500 individuals will access ongoing informational resources, including podcasts and written articles, about the use of cover crops on four women-led farms in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.