Farmer Jane: Women Changing The Way We EatFarmer Jane: Women Changing The Way We Eat, by Temra Costa is a must read for anyone that doubts one person can make a difference.  This book profiles 30 women participating in sustainable farming in some capacity.  Some are farmers, others are advocates, and they all have a common goal of improving the accessibility of healthier food for our families.
The book is divided into six categories, including my favorites “Promoting Local and Seasonal Food” and “The Next Generation of Sustainable Farmers.”  The profiles of each woman are just a couple of pages long and it was easy for me to get absorbed in the stories and keep reading till it was much too late!  I also found myself making notes about additional books to read and organizations to investigate.
Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen's Guide to Community Supported Agriculture, Revised and ExpandedElizabeth Henderson is considered the leader of the CSA movement.  As a farmer herself on Peacework Farm in Newark, NY, her book is a must read for anyone considering starting a CSA. Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture, Revised and Expanded  The book is in it’s second edition and covers everything from the farm to the office.
There are also a number of restaurateurs profiled, serving local, in season fare.  How many of us really know what’s in season around us?  These women, including Jesse Ziff Cool of Fleat Street Cafe and Jessica Prentice, who coined the term “locavore,” pull together menus using the freshest ingredients from farmers they know personally.  Instead of ordering the majority of items from one large company, they have long lists of vendors that allows them to get the best ingredient from the best (local) producer.

  The need for new farmers is a real challenge that affects all of us wanting to purchase local, organic food.  The current average age of farmers in the U.S. is 57.  There are a number of barriers that exist for the younger generation, including economic and physical challenges.  Severine Von Tscharner documented the lives of young farmers, in the film “The Greenhorns.”  Greenhorns is the term for agricultural rookies, and the book profiles a number of them and shares their successes and challenges. There needs to be a push for more support for Beginning Farms when the next Farm Bill is on the table to encourage younger farmers to take the challenge.
  Von Tscharner is quoted, “start really small with all of your ideas…figure it out small and go bigger next year.”  This was a great reminder to me that I can achieve something, as long as I start somewhere.  It may be just window boxes full of lettuce this year, but a large raised bed next year.  I can visit my local farmer’s market more frequently this year, and sign up for a CSA next year.  Each of us has the power to decide what food we will eat.  Convenient, local, organic, packaged, we have daily choices to make.  Reading this book has inspired me to be more critical of my food choices, and be more supportive of my local farms that are practicing biodiversity on their farms.  There are so many additional organizations I am learning more about and I will share them in a future post.
In the meantime, I recommend this book to any parent that wants to learn more about how our food can get to our plate in a safe, environmentally friendly manner.  This is not a book that tries to scare you into eating organic food.  It simply shares the story of 30 women and how they are making a difference.
Farmer Jane: Women Changing The Way We Eat
Make it your next book club book!  I would appreciate any other book suggestions and comments if you get the chance to read this book.

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