By Audra Mulkern
The Female Farmer Project came about while spending time with Sarah Cassidy of Oxbow Farm. She and I were harvesting purple sprouting broccoli together when I snapped a picture of her with my phone. Although I have many pictures of Sarah, this photo was different. I realized at that moment that I had found my next project.
Over the past few years, I have noticed that not only were a majority of the farmers in my rural community women, but that every summer the intern pool was increasingly all women. With just that anecdotal evidence in hand, I sought out data to confirm my suspicions that farming was becoming increasingly female. I began to reach out to these farmers — many of whom gave up successful careers in the corporate world to farm — in hopes of learning and sharing their stories. As I photograph and interview each farmer I have begun to see the threads of common traits in each of their stories and it’s been my privilege to share them.
About the Photographer
Audra Mulkern is a photographer documenting the farm-to-table movement throughout the Pacific Northwest. Author of “Rooted in the Valley: The Art and Color of The Snoqualmie Valley Farmers Markets,” Audra has now turned her eye and talents toward documenting the rise of women in farming. Her mission is to share the portraits and stories of how these women balance farm, family, motherhood, and often an outside job. Spending every free moment on farms from Seattle, WA to Chapel Hill, NC, Audra has captured the women who not only grow our food but also spend countless hours working in the community to make sure that their farm-fresh food is being incorporated into the school lunches and is available to the food banks for the less-advantage members of their community.