I will address the development of a Western Massachusetts’s Women in Agriculture Network, as well as the networking methods used in our region.
CISA spearheaded the creation of a ‘Women in Agriculture’ network for Western Massachusetts women farmers in 2004. Through the development of this network we learned about the information and support needs of this area’s women farmers and we explored several ways to meet those needs. I will use the presentation period to talk about the education and networking aspects of our programs, and the challenges of setting up a ‘Women in Agriculture’ network. Specifically, I will talk about how our program evolved from a one-on-one mentor model to a more social networking model that allows women farmers to share resources, ideas, and inspiration with a group of other women farmers. I will also address some of the challenging questions we faced in setting up a ‘Women in Agriculture’ Network such as, who is a woman in agriculture? and how do we meet the needs of women in diverse stages of agricultural production (from established farm matriarchs to women interested but not yet farming)? Finally, I distill some lessons from our work. Plenty of time for Question and Answers!
|Conference||2006 National Extension Women in Agriculture Conference|