Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture
Farmland dominates the landscape of the Blue Ridge region, but, surprisingly, many of its residents lack access to healthy, fresh, local food. In the early 2000s, a group of women farmers, gardeners and agriculture supporters set out to change that—and thus was born Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture.
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture provides a range of support for women growers and their families. Their programs include: farm tours, educational seasonal workshops for producers and consumers, and collaboration on a variety of events and services that contribute to a strong regional food system. Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture also focuses on networking, mutual empowerment, and information sharing for its majority female network.
With a strong focus on helping grassroots organizations plan, manage and carry out programs to improve community progamming, our Resourceful Communities program provided Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture with small grant support and capacity building focused on strategic planning, leadership succession, board development and resource cultivation. The support helped Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture implement solutions for this identified “food desert” region, including community gardens coordination, launch of a regional food hub, and continued community supported agriculture (CSA).
WHY THIS PROJECT MATTERS
More than a quarter-million women operate farms in the United States, yet they continue to be underserved. Our Resourceful Communities program provides support where it’s needed most, giving vulnerable populations access to resources and funding to advance successful programs. Beyond the social justice benefits, our triple-bottom line approach also boosts local economies and protects environmental resources.
AT A GLANCE
- Women are the fastest growing segment of farmers in the country.
- More than a quarter-million women operate farms in the United States, primarily small farms.
- Our Resourceful Communities Program (RCP) has awarded $3.2 million in grants to community organizations.
- RCP has helped local leaders create or retain over 1,000 jobs, and for every $1 we provide or help communities secure, an additional $12 in funding and in-kind contributions is raised by the community.