The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) Rural Women's Project supports women farmers and food-based ecopreneurs, providing resources, networking and collaborative opportunities to champion new business start-ups that support food system change.
As the number of women-owned farms and businesses continues to grow, opportunity abounds for women of all backgrounds, ages and interests to craft a livelihood that blends meaning with stewarding the planet and transforming our food system. The Rural Women’s Project champions increasing this voice and impact of women in the organic and sustainable farming and food community by providing networking, educational and training opportunities, including the acclaimed peer-led series: In Her Boots: Sustainable Farming For Women, By Women.
The number of women farmers increased nearly 30% nationally according to the latest USDA agriculture census, making this group one of the fastest growing segments of new farmers with the majority launching organic and sustainable operations for raising fresh, healthy food for local communities. More than 40% of these women are under age 55, a movement that can start to reverse the aging trend of the American farmer. According to the Center for Women's Business Research, for the past two decades and continuing during the current recession, businesses owned by women continue to grow at two times the rate of all companies.
Despite these trends, few programs and resources exist to target and address the specific needs of women farmers and food-based entrepreneurs, particularly those supporting the organic and sustainable agriculture movement. The Rural Women's Project was launched in 2009 specifically to provide training, outreach and a voice for women in organic and sustainable agriculture, both in the Midwest and nationally.