Women in Agriculture


In Issue 3, CCM profiled two women making a difference in Agriculture: Andrea Davis-Cetina of Quarter Acre Farm in Sonoma, California and Taber Ward of Mountain Flower Dairy Farm in Boulder, Colorado.


Women in Agriculture - Andrea Davis-CetinaWHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START A FARM?

Andrea Davis-Cetina: While at Hampshire College, I studied sustainable agriculture. I took courses in ecology, anthropology, rural studies, and a bit of art. During the school year, I worked on the college farm, and during summer vacations, I worked as an intern on farms in Maine, upstate New York, and North Carolina. My college dissertation was a nutritional analysis of a local and seasonal diet in the Pioneer Valley. To make this information accessible to the surrounding community, I published a cookbook, “Local Delectables: Seasonal Recipes for the Pioneer Valley.” After graduating from college, I moved to California in 2005 and quickly got my hands dirty by creating and maintaining edible gardens for restaurants and private clients. In 2008, I took the leap to start Quarter Acre Farm on a quarter acre of land. Following my passion and enthusiasm toward natural and sustainable methods, I decided to have the farm certified organic through CCOF in 2010. Quarter Acre Farm has grown a little over the years and is currently three-quarters of an acre.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO OPERATE IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY?

ADC: I look to use regenerative practices on the farm to improve the land and ecosystem instead of just sustaining the land as I found it. It has to do with how I see my place and effect on the world.

"As a young Girl Scout, I was told you always leave a place better than you found it - take pictures, leave footprints. I want to leave the world a better place for future generations."

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE THINKING OF BECOMING FARMERS OR STARTING THEIR OWN FARM?

ADC: Do your research, take classes if you can, and read as many books and articles as you can get your hands on. Most importantly, work on established farms for the length of a season so you can see how the farm work changes throughout the year. Working on another person’s farm allows you to learn directly from an experienced grower and learn from their mistakes.

DO YOU HAVE ANY PREDICTIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE FARMING INDUSTRY?

ADC: I’m no fortune teller, but I believe the future of farming depends on young, innovative farmers who face problems by trying inventive solutions.


Issue 3 Women in Agriculture WHAT INSPIRED  YOU TO START A  FARM?

 Taber Ward: Our food  system is more than  broken - it produces  pain, agony, pollution,  and injustice for  millions of people,  animals, and  ecosystems. The goal  of Mountain Flower  is to create an  alternative to factory  and industrial farming  by connecting people  to the means of production and by treating the land and our goats gently and with respect. We want to provide dairy products that people can trust.

Providing a transparent and accessible farm in the middle of the city helps connect people back to the land, back to animals, and back to their food. It is our goal to practice humane animal husbandry and educate the community about what it means, what it costs, and what it looks like to raise animals with respect. Every dollar spent on food is a vote for how we want our food system to look and how we want to treat our animals, the land, and our planet.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO OPERATE IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY?

TW: There is no other way to do this. We may not be legally liable for abusing the land or animals when we farm, but we are morally liable. At the end of the day, we go home knowing that we did our best to create a positive product and happy environment for the creatures that we steward.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE THINKING OF BECOMING FARMERS OR STARTING THEIR OWN FARM?

TW: Collaborate! Farming was never meant to be a one-(wo)man-show. Reach out to folks who have similar values and work ethics. Reach out to folks who offer different skill sets from your own. Be ready to work all the time. There are no days off in farming. Dig in. Don’t give up. Believe in your vision - even when it’s falling apart, it will come back together.

DO YOU HAVE ANY PREDICTIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE FARMING INDUSTRY?

TW: I am hopeful for the future of local food and community food security - the movement has started already and we are taking bold steps as farmers, consumers, restaurants, grocers, and policymakers to strengthen and support this sector of food production.

Given the drought in California, I predict that the cry for local food and diversification will become stronger and more robust; not because it is trendy or because of the “foodie” movement - but because our breadbasket state is turning into a desert. This is not a “California problem” - this is a problem that will impact dinner plates and pocketbooks around the nation. California produces a sizable majority of American fruits, vegetables, and nuts: [almost all of our] artichokes, walnuts, kiwis, plums, celery, garlic, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, and the list goes on.

 

This article appeared in Issue 3 | Summer 2015

To read more inspiring articles from Issue 3, including our cover story featuring Eileen Fisher, as well as inspiring stories featuring John Replogle of Seventh Generation, Pantheon Enterprises, Transatomic Power, gDiapers, and more - purchase a copy of Issue 3 online!

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