In honor of International Women’s Day (March 8), we’ve curated a selection of articles featuring extraordinary women who are redefining what it means to farm, homestead, hunt, fish, parent and run rural-based businesses in the 21st century. A big thank you to all you amazing women out there making the world go round!
Since our inception (over 6 years ago!), we’ve been honored to feature dozens of farmers, homesteaders, and entrepreneurs who are making the most of the new rural lifestyle. And the really cool thing? Most of them are women!
This isn’t surprising given women’s historical role in pioneering and establishing America’s first rural communities. However, as our former editor Tiffany Wilson explains in a previous article, women’s roles weren’t limited to that of housekeeper, mother, wife and church volunteer.
Excerpted from Farming Women and Women Homesteaders, Published March 3, 2017
Thousands of women took advantage of the Homestead Act of 1862, which granted 160 acres of land to qualifying applicants in the American Great Plains. Married ladies were barred from taking the land unless they were the head of their household, so the bulk of the women who cashed in on the land were young, single entrepreneurs ready for adventure, according to this article on the University of Nebraska--Lincoln website.
The article says history books have mistakenly looked back at women as helpers or “reluctant pioneers” in that era, when in fact they also had a leading role in settling the Wild West. You can read their stories in their own words through letters and articles from their time, documented in detail in the book Staking Her Claim: Women Homesteading the West. It’s a favorite book of our interviewee Cyndi Ball, who said in this post on her blog that she was encouraged to read women of that time recommended pooling resources with fellow homesteaders.
The Inspiring Women We've Met Who Are Redefining The Rural Lifestyle
Since the publication of our original article celebrating women farmers and homesteaders, we’ve kept shining the spotlight on real rural women (and their supporters) who are redefining what it means to live the new country dream.
Some work as farmers, others are homesteaders, authors, cooks/chefs, herbalists, sportswomen, bloggers, authors and even rural fitness instructors! Here are some of the women we’ve met who define the new rural lifestyle.
Christa and April Zuniga, Eat Your Greens! Organic Farm
This Texas-based power couple is making a living farming microgreens in their suburban home. In this article, Christa shares how their personal health struggles led them to start growing these mini nutritional powerhouses...which then blossomed into a full-blown, full-time business. If you’re short on land but passionate about health and/or growing, this story will inspire you.
Mary May and Allison Horseman, The Woodstock Lavender Company
Enjoy the heart-warming success story of this mother-daughter team who came together to create a West-coast-style lavender farm in the Kentucky countryside.
Anne-Marie Bilella, Bella Vista Farm
This entrepreneurial New York native turned Georgia peach has created a unique multi-stream business running an medicinal herb CSA, creating her own skin and body care line and teaching growing and herbal medicine making classes. She also shares how none of this would have been possible without her local ladies' homesteading group, a testament to the power of women supporting women!
Maggie Holub, Holub Farm
A third generation female farmer takes over her family’s 700+ acre farm in Nebraska, while also running a rural mobile fitness center. Learn how she does it all, plus what inspired her to bring fitness to her rural community.
Amanda Browning, Amanda’s Farm to Fork
It takes a special kind of woman to care for five children...while running a rural homestead and farm-to-fork business out of her North Georgia kitchen (since the publication of this article, she’s also started a restaurant). Learn her secrets to success and how you can start your own farm to fork, here.
Corey Hunt, Two Dog Outdoors, Physical Therapy Specialist, Rethink:Rural Author
We were proud to feature our own bad-ass sports/outdoorswoman, blogger, physical therapist-by-day and mom, Corey Hunt, as she shared her best tips on how women can break into bow hunting.
Kathy Shea-Mormino “The Chicken Chick”
Meet the Chicken Chick, a high-powered attorney turned backyard chicken farmer, bee keeper, photographer, blogger, best-selling author and social media sensation. Kathy’s methodical, practical and easy-to-follow advice has made her the go-to expert for homesteaders, hobby farmers and backyard chicken enthusiasts alike. We were fortunate to feature her advice in two articles on chicken keeping.
Anastasia Patterson, Angling Expert
A female fly fishing legend shares her story about breaking into the male-dominated world of professional angling, plus how anyone can get started fishing for fun or competition.
Deborah Neimann, The Thrifty Homesteader
This rural entrepreneur is making it work as a blogger, homesteader, farmer, author, speaker/teacher and health coach from her 32 acre homestead in rural Texas. In this article, Deborah shares how and why she left city life and returned to her country roots to create a healthier, happier and self-sufficient life for her family. This inspirational story is perfect for anyone trying to figure out how to make money while living off the land.
This is just a small sampling of all the extraordinary women we’ve met and interviewed throughout the years.
For more inspiring stories, check out: Farming Women and Women Homesteaders: A Series and other stories in our Rural People section.
Power on, ladies!