"In Her Boots" workshop empowers female farmers - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

"In Her Boots" workshop empowers female farmers

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Lisa Kivirist Lisa Kivirist
Joyce Ford Joyce Ford
Sara Freid Sara Freid
Winona, MN (WXOW) - -

Women make up one of the fastest growing groups of new farmers, specifically organic and sustainable agriculture.

Lisa Kivirist, Rural Women's Project Coordinator for the Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service, otherwise known as MOSES said over the past 20 years, the number of women farmers has increased by 20 percent.

"We're part of a larger movement, we're part of a larger community and sisterhood here and knowing other women have your back really keeps you going," said Kivirist.

A " In Her Boots" workshop took place at Blue Fruit Farm located in Winona, one of four annual workshops held on an annual basis for the past five years.

Joyce Ford, who owns Blue Fruit Farm with her husband Jim Riddles said their organic farming journey began in the 1980's, acquiring an open field in 2007 they once used for vegetable farming. At that time, they decided to acquire the land and plant perennial fruits.

"Farming is a wonderful lifestyle and it's a good place to raise children and women like being out in the country and farming, it's hard work, but it's rewarding," said Ford.

Now, Ford is sharing her experiences and knowledge to help empower others.

"I love being able to just talk and share about experiences. I don't like facts as much as I like experience and anecdotal advice," said Sara Freid, a Farmer at the Lake City Catholic Worker Farm.

And the In Her Boots forums do just that, demonstrating various fertilizing, harvesting, and packing techniques for a variety of crops. 

"We have a range of women here today from it's their first Ag event they've ever attended to women who have been farming for ten plus years," added Kivirist.

Stressing just how important that cross pollination and collaboration is in helping the crops and farmers grow, "Because we all have something to share and we all have something to learn."


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