Women have played a key role in agriculture for centuries and have often been the uncelebrated backbone of economies all over the world. On International Women’s Day, we are taking the opportunity to acknowledge their contributions and leading role in achieving food and nutrition security. 

As one day is not enough to do women in agriculture justice, we are dedicating the month of March  to highlighting and sharing stories of inspiring women all over the world. Women who are leading change in organic agriculture and sustainability on a daily basis: Floris in Samoa challenging rigid traditions that deny women access to resources, Rita in Nigeria empowering women to secure their livelihoods with farming, Jane in the U.K sharing how each one of us can make a difference on our planet, Jennifer in the U.S advocating for social and racial equity among organic farmers, and Maribel, Erlinda and Rosa in Ecuador preserving farmers’ traditions that allow harmonious farming with nature.

Most women are food growers in Samoa, but they do not get credit for their work. Instead, their husbands, fathers and brothers receive all the accolades. The work of single women farmers is barely recognised while they face enormous challenges, some even life-threatening violence.

Floris Niu returned to her ancestral land in Samoa following a series of life-threatening illnesses including cervical cancer. A new beginning where she tackles old beliefs on the role of women farmers and also defends her right not to spray her land with glyphosate. Despite all, she is determined to continue farming using the same traditional, organic methods used by her ancestors.

In today’s world, the face of agriculture is women. We empower women to transform and secure their rights and livelihoods. In so doing, we promote self-sufficiency while conserving the indigenous ecosystem and promoting biodiversity.

Rita Otu is an advocate for women farmers in Nigeria raising awareness of the benefits of growing food organically and how it can strengthen livelihoods.. She has also helped school girls start agricultural clubs in their schools where they learn more about various sustainable farming practices.

“The most important message I have for everyone is to remember that each one of us makes a difference every single day we live on this planet. We get to choose what sort of difference we make.”

Dr Jane Goodall is a world renowned primatologist, most known for her extensive 60-year study and research on chimpanzees. She shares about her experiences and why she believes organic has an important role in building a better  future for all.

“A key issue within global agricultural research and development is the need to positively focus on the sustainable development of small farmers, resource poor farmers and their families.”

Dr Jennifer Taylor is an organic farmer and an advocate for underserved small farm populations, indigenous farmers, black farmers, farmers of colour and their communities. She promotes inclusiveness, racial equity, and social justice strategies that enable participatory capacity building, thrive-ability and wellbeing for all human beings.

“The wisdom of the countryside is usually passed down from generation to generation. Today, this knowledge could disappear due to the constant pressure from current food systems encouraging unsustainable production.”

Maribel, Erlinda and Rosa are women farmers in Ecuador who share how acquiring agricultural wisdom from their family was key in them becoming successful farmers and contributing to their communities. They believe that the passion for working in the field starts in the family and the agricultural wisdom acquired from our parents prepares us for the future. 

We prepared the following tools to add some extra ‘oomph’ to your content when celebrating women.

  • Feature women’s stories like the ones above from so many that we gathered in 2020. Get inspired!
  • Share one of the videos from this curated list of women advocating for healthier sustainable food systems. Watch our playlist!
  • Looking for videos, images or messages to use on this day and beyond? Find everything you need with our social media toolkit that is available for free. Find it here!
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