Women in Organics

Friday, January 25, 2019 - 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Workshop Description

This forum will discuss the strong role women are taking in organic market development, international organic movements and food production.

We have seen a rapid increase in the number of women farming around the world, who describe themselves not as the wives of farmers or the daughters of farmers, but as farmers.

As we continue to face the growing challenges of climate change, food insecurity and illness, women in agriculture will play a key role. Time and again, women have come together, particularly in rural developing areas, to create solutions and strengthen their families and communities.

This presentation will explore the growth and future trends for female farmers, as well as the support that is available and the help still needed to ensure that female farmers will continue to thrive.

Format of the discussion:

  • Peggy Miars will provide an overview of key issues.
  • Individual perspectives – Mary-Howell, Ruth, Rebecca
  • 8:30-9:30 Question & Answer / Discussion


Interesting points…

  1. Organic Alberta reported a year ago that the number of female farmers has continually risen in Canada since 2011. The number of farms operated solely by females under age 35 rose by 113.3%, compared with a 24.4% increase in male operators younger than 35.


  1. British Columbia had the highest proportion of female farm operators (37.5%) in Canada in 2016. Nationally, women accounted for 28.7% of all farm operators in Canada in 2016.


  1. Women now account for 30% of the farm operators in the United States, a number which has almost tripled in the last three decades, creating the fastest growing segment in agriculture.


  1. Women tend to farm on smaller pieces of land, grow diverse crops, favor sustainable practices and prioritize food over commodity crops.


  1. A 2017 paper published in the Journal of Co-operative Organization and Management highlighted that women’s membership in an agricultural co-operative increased their household’s food and basic need security and wellbeing. Membership empowered women at the household, group and community level.


  1. In 2017 the World Bank reported that as the global community works toward achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – among them SDG2, which aims to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030 – women can be the key agents of change in agriculture, nutritional and rural development.


  1. The 2009 report “Agriculture at a Crossroads” published by the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (also known as the Global Report) highlights that social equity issues, including gender, are major concerns in agriculture, as they relate to poverty, hunger, nutrition, health, natural resource management and environment, which are affected by various factors resulting in greater or lesser degrees of equity.


Panelists include:

  • Peggy Miars (IFOAM & OMRI)
  • Mary-Howell Martens (Lakeview Organic Grain)
  • Ruth Knight (Organic Consultant Inc.)
  • Rebecca Ivanoff (SeedWorks)

Moderated by Anahita Belanger

Peggy Miars

Mary-Howell Martens

Ruth Knight giving a workshop

Ruth Knight

Rebecca Ivanoff

Rebecca Ivanoff