Cultivating Our Food, Farms and Future

4th National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture

November 6-8, 2013
Des Moines, IA

Want to see more photos from the conference? Visit Elisabeth Lewin's Flickr page by clicking on this photo.

Want to see more photos from the conference? Visit Elisabeth Lewin’s Flickr page by clicking on this photo.

Over 400 women farmers, advocates and landowners gathered from across the US to engage and learn about healthy food and farming at the 4th National Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture. Attendees came from 20 different states and three other countries including Canada, Puerto Rico and Uruguay. A dynamic set of workshops, field tours, and seasonal food from Midwest women farmers created a space to share and learn.

  • Keynotes by Danielle Nierenberg of FoodTank, Pakou Hang of the Hmong American Farmers Association, and Kari Hamerschlag of Environmental Working Group.
  • Workshops and panels on dozens of topics ranging from CSA management to soil health to farm bill advocacy.
  • Field tours were offered to showcase women-owned farms and teach skills such as chain-saw use and prescribed fire.
  • Over 50 different vendors exhibited at the conference as well

The next conference for women in sustainable agriculture will be hosted by another partnering organization in 2015.

Conference Media Coverage

“Storytelling: Why your story matters”, Viroqua Food Co-op Blog 2-5-14

“The Growth & Impact of Women in Agriculture”, FarmsReach 12-10-13

“Common-sense strategies drive sustainable agriculture”, Manitoba Co-operator 11-27-13

“A Growing Number of Farmers are Women”, KCCI 11-6-13

“Sustainable Ag Expert: ‘Food system racing to its destruction'”, Des Moines Register 11-7-13

“Women Land & Legacy at Conference for Women in Sustainable Agriculture” 11-8-13

“Women in Sustainable Agriculture–Reflection from the National Conference”, Women’s Agricultural Network 11-14-13

“Storytelling Without Apology”, Drifting Earth Storytelling 11-17-13

About Our Keynote Speakers
Danielle Nierenberg is an expert on sustainable agriculture and food issues.  Read more.
She recently spent two years traveling to more than 35 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America meeting with farmers and farmers’ groups, scientists and researchers, policymakers and government leaders, students and academics, and journalists collecting their thoughts on what’s working to help alleviate hunger and poverty, while also protecting the environment. She is widely published and speaks at events worldwide. Danielle served as the Director of the Food and Agriculture program at the Worldwatch Institute. She is a co-founder with Ellen Gustafson of FoodTank, the food think tank.

Watch the FoodTank video trailer.

Pakou Hang is a seasoned community organizer and strategic consultant with particular expertise in New American communities.  Read more.

Born in 1976 in the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp in Thailand, but now naturalized as an American citizen, Pakou is a member of the Hmong community. Active in politics, Pakou served as a deputy political director to Senator Paul Wellstone and campaign manager in the election of Mee Moua to the Minnesota legislature. She has helped her family farm for over 20 years, and works with a group of Hmong farmers in the Twin Cities area. Pakou is currently working with the Institute for Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives at the University of Minnesota to examine traditional Hmong medicinal plants. and at the Latino Economic Development Center of Minnesota to explore barriers to immigrant farmers in rural communities.

Watch Pakou talk to school kids about leadership, and her work with the late Senator Paul Wellstone.

Kari Hamerschlag is senior food and agriculture analyst at Environmental Working Group.  Read more.

Kari focuses on healthy, local, organic and sustainable food and agriculture policy. She started her career 20 years ago as an organizer, researcher and advocate for socially and environmentally sound development policy, mostly focused in Latin America. Prior to joining EWG, she worked for nearly a decade with a number of non-profits on fair trade, sustainable food and ag policy issues. Kari has a Masters from UC Berkeley in Latin American studies and City and Regional Planning. She is an avid telemark skier and loves hiking with her dog Shoki in the East Bay Hills.

Check out Kari’s Twitter feed.

Keynote Speakers Danielle Nierenberg, Kari Hamerschlag, and Pakou Hang.

This year’s keynote speakers included (from left) Danielle Nierenberg, Kari Hamerschlag, and Pakou Hang.