While the agricultural industry has been dominated by men for decades, women, who have traditionally not been the face of farming, are slowly changing the way we see farmers.
At Byron Farmers Market alone, there is a new generation of young women farmers who are making their mark on the local food scene.
Georgina Goddard, of Brooklet Springs Farm, left a career in architecture four years ago to pursue farming. And while it’s been a steep learning curve, she doesn’t regret for a second replacing a sterile office environment with a lush farm in Brooklet, where she raises chicken, pork and beef with her partner, Morgwn.
‘We got into farming originally because I had developed food allergies,’ says Georgina. ‘It made me look at labelling and food – what’s in it, where it came from. It made us really interested in raising our own food, so we decided farming was the way to go.’
Women were only legally recognised as farmers in Australia 25 years ago. Prior to that, they could only be officially defined as ‘silent partners’, ‘domestics’, ‘helpmates’ or ‘farmers’ wives’.
Thankfully, times have changed and today women make up 32 per cent of Australia’s agricultural workforce. And the number is growing.
Even so, Georgina says that she is still faced with the stigma that farmers should be men.
‘I connect a lot with local chefs – who feature Brooklet Springs Farm produce on their menus – and they’re all really surprised that I’m in the role I’m in. They expect to be dealing with a man.
‘When dealing with butchers, which I do often, many of them haven’t dealt with women in this role before.’
However, every year, more women enter the farming arena and they bring both passion and innovation to the agrarian table. You can find Georgina and a number of other impressive female farmers, along with their locally grown and raised produce, at Byron and Bangalow Farmers Markets every week.
Byron Farmers Market is held every Thursday 7am–11am at the Cavanbah Centre and Bangalow Farmers Market is every Saturday morning 7–11am behind the Bangalow Pub.