WFAN is a community of women involved in sustainable agriculture. We are farmers, landowners, researchers, students, advocates and mothers concerned about our families’ health. We come from all over the US and several other countries, and do the majority of our work in the Midwest.

Women own nearly half the farmland in the US today, but are rarely represented on the boards of policy-making bodies and often encounter communications barriers when accessing information from agencies and institutions.

WFAN exists so that women can give each other the information, connections and encouragement they need to be effective practitioners and supporters of sustainable agriculture and healthy localized food systems.


To link and empower women to build food systems and communities that are healthy, just, sustainable, and that promote environmental integrity.

Our History

Women, Food & Agriculture Network started in 1997, but the name, Women, Food and Agriculture originated in 1994. Founding mothers Denise O’Brien and Kathy Lawrence of New York formed a Women, Food and Agriculture working group in preparation for the United Nation’s Fourth World Women’s Conference in Beijing, China in order to remedy the absence of women’s voices in food and agricultural issues.  The network formed in 1997 after Denise spent a few years doing work under the name, but found the going difficult without a network. Along with Denise, a few dedicated individuals formed a network to act on their long-standing concerns about systemic rural, agricultural, and environmental problems and gender relation in these domains.

Founding Mother:
Denise O’Brien

Our Goals

(View the WFAN strategic plan here)

  • To promote sustainable agricultural and community structures.
  • Insist on social and ecological justice for current and future human and non-human communities.
  • Provide opportunities for education on economics and environment that articulate a holistic view of agriculture, instill a sense of place, and draw forward useful experiences from the past.
  • Create networks that support communities of growers, consumers, workers and others who strive for sustainability, increase effective access to and use of existing resources, engage participants in experiential learning, provide safe places for self-expression, and respect the spirituality of the land and people.
  • Advocate change by exploring alternatives and challenge the globalization of economies, cultures of domination and institutionalized discrimination, the disintegration of landscapes, and oppressive conceptual frameworks.

See our results from the 2013 Member Survey.

Although centered in Iowa, WFAN members come from over 25 states and several other countries. We are diverse in ages (ranging from teens to seventies) and backgrounds. We are farmers, urban gardeners, environmental educators, community activists, academics, and others who care about food and our environment.