Farmer networks are a great way for farmers to exchange information, socialize, learn and connect with peers. More and more agricultural professionals are relying on farmer networks as an innovative educational tool for programming. Extension faculty at Oregon State University have compiled and written an instructional guide and toolkit for creating farmer-to-farmer networks. Funded by a Western SARE grant, this toolkit is based upon OSU faculty’s experience in creating and managing women farmer networks in Oregon. Topics covered in the guide include how to get your network started; program planning; surveying farmers; choosing an organizational structure; communicating with your network; facilitating network meetings and challenges related to maintaining your network. The guide also includes templates, tools and worksheets for agricultural professionals to use in creating their own networks. This guide is perfect for extension professionals, university educators, nonprofit leaders and other farmers interested in organizing a network.
For sustainable food activist Temra Costa, women rarely get their proper due in agriculture. Her book, "Farmer Jane", shines light on woman farmers, sustainable food activists, and other women whose important efforts helped shape our modern food system.
The OSU Small Farms Programs hosts three Women Farmer Networks throughout the state.
The League of Women Farmers, Southern Oregon
The League of Women Farmers provides women farmers with opportunities for business networking, expanding knowledge, and socializing in a supportive, open environment.
The League of Women Farmers was the first of OSU's Women Farmer Networks. It began in October of 2007 and since then they have hosted welding classes, pruning workshops, and seed exchanges- always accompanied by a delicous potluck. Follow them on facebook.
Contact: Call the Southern Oregon Small Farms Program at (541)776-7371 ext 208
Willamette Women's Farm Network (WWFN), Central and Southern Willamette Valley
We are a community of women from central and southern Willamette Valley of Oregon, that are actively engaged in farm and ranch activities. We join together to further our knowledge of farm and ranch related issues both in the market place and in agricultural practices. We are working together to enhance our economic self-sufficiency through shared experience, resources, and visions of how our farm work will impact ourselves and our community. We will provide each member a safe, supportive environment and opportunity to learn safety and lawful practices regarding farming/ranching that promotes responsibility, profitability and conservation of the land.
The WWFN started in November 2008. They keep in touch through an e-mail list-serv and gather together for hands-on learning, farm walks, knowledge sharing, and socializing. One of their highlighted events was a tractor safety and driving training held in the summer of 2010.
For more information, contact the coordinator, Melissa Fery (541) 766-3553
Women in Agriculture (WAggies)
Northern Willamette Valley/ Portland Metro Area
Mission Statement: WAggies provides women farmers in the north Willamette Valley of Oregon with opportunities for creating community by expanding knowledge, business networking and socializing in a supportive, open environment.
WAggies meets monthly for farm tours and potlucks offered at member farms in the north Willamette region. Additional education, skill building, and networking events and support are offered. We communicate through facebook and an email listserv.
WAggies started in 2011 and was known as the North Willamette Women Farmer Network until 2013.