Women’s farm organizations in the United States: Protecting and transforming agricultural power

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Department of Social Sciences


This chapter shares an overview of women’s agricultural organizations in the US and applies theories of gendered organizations to assess the transformative potential of these groups in relation to the status quo of agriculture. Even as these groups may explicitly target gender equity in agriculture, they risk re-enforcing the racialized and heteronormative practices used to protect the social unit of the family farm. I argue that the existence and continued focus of women’s agricultural organizations upon gender alone is not enough to restructure power relations within agriculture. Women’s agricultural organizations may contribute to a more just agriculture if their work is in solidarity across geographies and is inclusive of all races, classes, sexualities, and gender expressions. Examples from Women, Food and Agriculture Network, founded in the early 1990s as an ecofeminist grassroots network and now a national non-profit organization, provide a case study for the continued challenges in organizing systems change even within a sustainable agricultural organization by and for women.

Publisher's Statement

© 2021 selection and editorial matter, Angie Carter. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429199752-25

Publication Title

Routledge Handbook of Gender and Agriculture