This is What a Farmer Looks Like


The number of women running farms is growing. At least, photographer Audra Mulkern is darn sure that’s true, even if the US Census data is murky on the subject. In 2013, she created The Female Farmer Project to document the increasing number of women she saw operating agricultural business in her community in Washington. Since then, she’s shot close to 50 portraits, from Iceland to the Bronx, many of first-generation farmers working on their second careers. As she told the Seattle Times last spring, “I’m trying to disrupt the face of farming — while they disrupt farming.”

Elizabeth Clore Bushy Tail Farm

Elizabeth Clore // Bushy Tail Farm // Saxapahaw, NC

Elizabeth is a former research biologist from Boston. When her definitions of success did not map with the available careers in science, she began to research how to create a sustainable agriculture business on her family’s 200-year- old farmstead in North Carolina that had sat untouched for decades. Now she grows a variety of vegetables, raises chickens for eggs, and says this is the first job she’s ever had that she can’t stop thinking about.

Michaele Blakely Growing Things Farm

Michaele Blakely // Growing Things Farm // Carnation, WA

This former schoolteacher owns and operates a small polyculture farm producing fruits, vegetables, pastured pork, goats’ milk soap, and more.

Suzanne Nelson Haw River Ranch

Suzanne Nelson // Haw River Ranch // Saxapahaw, NC

Suzanne is a former Capitol Hill journalist who approaches each day on her grass-fed meat and dairy farm with the same careful thought, passion, and energy she used to bring to her writing.

Christina Miller Greenbow Farm

Christina Miller // Greenbow Farm // Ellensburg, WA

Christina started her career in the arts, but she now farms grass-fed meats and creates yarn and sheepskin rugs from the fleece of her sheep. She still draws on her art degree by visually communicating to her customers why she farms.

This article appeared in Issue 8 | July/August 2016

Issue 8 is all about women and leadership (with plenty of material for readers of all genders). We feature interviews and profiles of inspiring leaders like Kat Taylor of Beneficial State Bank, shareholder advocate Natasha Lamb, Energy Excelerator's Dawn Lippert, award-winning architect Sarah Wigglesworth, Brook Eddy of Bhakti Chai, Kiverdi's Lisa Dyson, and more. You'll also find even more how-to stories than ever before, including how to recruit a more diverse workforce, learn to disappoint people without hurting your career, and survive a capital raise.

Buy Issue