Giving Compass' Take:

• Lisa Elaine Held explains that women have been contributing to American agriculture (often invisibly) for centuries. Now, they’re stepping into the profession’s spotlight in a new way, operating more diversified, sustainable farms.

• How can we help fund more female farmers in the U.S.? Which sustainable agriculture practices have the greatest potential to help our food ecosystem and the environment?

• Read about why we need gender equity in agriculture science.

When the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) surveyed more than 3,500 farmers under 40 in 2017, 60 percent of the farmer respondents were women. And in 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Census of Agriculture found that 14 percent of principal farm operators were women, a nearly 300 percent increase since 1978, when it began counting women as farmers.

Before that, as “farm wives,” women’s work went unnoticed. “There are real implications from that,” says Audra Mulkern, who started the Female Farmer Project to call attention to how women were missing from agricultural narratives. “What have we missed because we haven’t heard women’s voices? What lessons did we not learn? What knowledge is missing?”

Mulkern is working on a documentary, Women’s Work, that she says will write women back into agriculture history — from Native American women cultivating crops to African women brought to the US as slaves hiding seeds in their hair to modern women planting and harvesting.

Read the full article on women in agriculture and farming by Lisa Elaine Held at Food Tank.