In New York state a new group works the soil

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on July 26, 2019 - Duration: 01:43s

In New York state a new group works the soil

Women and gender diverse people are running some of the best-known organic farms in Long Island – not only shifting perceptions of what a New York farmer looks like, but also highlighting the central role that these groups are playing in the organic farming movement.

Havovi Cooper and Aleksandra Michalska report.


In New York state a new group works the soil

NOTE TO EDITORS: This version removes this line which is incorrect: "In fact nearly 59% of organic farmers are female, while women make up only about 36% of conventional farmers, according to the most recent data from the USDA." Layton Guenther works at Quail Hill Farm in Long Island... and as a non-binary transgender person is changing perceptions of what a farmer looks like... (SOUNDBITE) (English) QUAIL HILL FARM, DIRECTOR, LAYTON GUENTHER, SAYING: "It's such a healing profession for queer or trans person to be able to be out and working the land, and to… to… to feel really empowered and really present in their bodies and in their work." Guenther is part of a growing group of gender-diverse college graduates and young women who are drawn to the land-- specifically to organic farming...because of a driving desire for social impact.

The largest number of organic farms are in California and Wisconsin, followed by New York state... where businesses like Amber Waves Farm are thriving.

Owned and operated by 2 women the farm grows vegetables, wheat, and herbs over about 20 acres of farmland and is now training a new generation of young farmers- like Allie Gressler.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) AMBER WAVES FARM, MANAGER, ALLIE GRESSLER, SAYING: "When I first started driving tractors, I was really intimidated because I'd never driven manual cars before and tractors are all manual and I think because of the scale, they're so large.

It was so nice to have another woman tell me no you're not dumb this is how you do it.

And to just really sit there and take the time to explain things to you." Even established farms in New York are diversifying..

Marilee Foster's family has been farming in Long Island since the mid-1800s... But Marilee is the first woman in the family to fully co-manage the farm and has helped transition to organic farming.

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