A Message from Women’s President, Nicole Edwards
When we started farming six years ago we had already been restauranteurs for seven years. It all began when we thought we would find a way to feed our growing family of three boys and one girl. We wanted to know what was in our food and what chemicals were going into our children so we chose to grow according to the Canadian Organic Standards. We believed it would be the smartest path for providing the best food for our family in the most cost efficient manner.
We started with a small plot and then increased the plot as we used the veggies in our restaurant as well as feeding our family. The next year we increased the land again so that we could accommodate a local farmers market. Ultimately, we started farming all our land and this now allows us to sell to many types of customers including stores, markets, and other restaurants.
We envisioned this wonderful marriage between the two worlds; we are restauranteurs, who farm, or conversely, we are farmers who have a restaurant! We know both worlds intimately, from the early mornings of the farmer to the late nights of the restauranteur. My husband, Carson, had many contacts in the local restaurant scene and we knew from personal experience, that they would be looking for fresh local produce. Furthermore, we thought we would be the perfect vender of our produce, as we are aware of the many potential frustrations of being a purchaser. READ MORE
A Message from Past Women’s President,
As a come-from-away, raised in an urban neighbourhood, it can be difficult to negotiate one’s place in the New Brunswick farming community. As a young, inexperienced, female farmer it can be even more so.
Our former president, Jean-Eudes Chiasson, asked me once; what, in my opinion, is the definition of a farmer? At the time, my partner, John and I had been raising pork, dairy cattle, and beef and sharing equitably in the farm tasks and costs for a number of years. Nonetheless, I did not feel comfortable calling myself a farmer.
It wasn’t until one day last summer while haying, when a neighbour referred to my partner as “Farmer John” and to me as “the farmer’s wife” that I realized I, and many other women, have an obligation to start owning the title farmer. Not “farm women” or “women in agriculture.” Farmer. Full stop. Until we do, negotiating our place in the farming community will continue to be difficult. READ MORE
Who are the NFU Women?
The National Farmers Union is a progressive family farm organization concerned about all aspects of life on farms and all members of farm families.
Women are active and equal participants in the National Farmers Union, supporting each other, organizing, formulating and articulating policy, and serving as elected officers.
To ensure that the voices of farm women are clearly heard, our constitution provides for women’s positions at every level of the organization.
Women serve on National Farmers Union committees dealing with issues ranging from farm economics and safety, to rural childcare and community concerns, to national and international agriculture issues.
Women are making valuable contributions throughout the organization by participating effectively in policy decisions, education and organizing.
In New Brunswick
In New Brunswick, the NFU-NB has a Women’s President who brings awareness to farm issues that particularly affect women farmers and women in farm families.
In 2014, two of the NFU-NB’s female board members, Emily Shapiro, Women’s President, and Rébeka Fraser-Chiasson were named Young Leaders by 21inc.
At the 2014 National NFU Convention, long time Board member, farmer, and women’s activist, Betty Brown, was recognized for her hard work and dedication by receiving the 2014 Grassroots Award for Region 1.
Join the NFU to become involved to be more involved in supporting and advancing women farmers.
International Activist Dr. Vandana Shiva sums up the vital importance of women in agriculture
“All archeological records show that women were the first domesticators of crops. And they carry this 10,000 year knowledge and skill of seed. They carry the knowledge and skill of nutrition. They carry with them the knowledge and skill of how, in the worst of social circumstances, to be resilient: to make your ecosystems resilient, your own lives resilient and your communities resilient.”
– Dr. Vandana Shiva