From Glass Ceiling to Grass Ceiling: Women Take Back the Farm

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

This interview originally aired live on July 9, 2013. An edited version was re-broadcast as part of a best-of show timed for Labor Day on September 2, 2013.

Journalist Lori Rotenberk talks about the spike in the number of women farmers over the past twenty years, and why so many women are turning their backs on the corporate world and picking up the spade.



Lori Rotenberk

Comments [8]

Rick from NYC

Smart observations - interesting discussion.
Thoughtful topic.
Wondering how this will trend over next couple of decades given Millennial views and values.

Jul. 09 2013 12:03 PM
kthmcgv from nyc


I went to John Bowne H.S in Flushing Queens which has a agriculture program that I want to tell your NYC audience about. When I went there in the early 90's we spent 1 summer on a plot of land out back that we grew vegetables on. They also have animals, chickens and small pet animals when I was there. They sold eggs and holiday plants also. They also send students to farms in Upstate NY. So very relevant and as food systems have become more important to folks this program should be looked into and maybe featured on the show!

Jul. 09 2013 12:01 PM
Robert from NYC

I have to say I'm insulted personally by that "lowest of low jobs" remark regarding farmers. What nerve, first of all to say that about any kind of work, the lowest of lows says something about the speaker! But I have all my life thought of farmers (and I was born and raised in the city never been on a farm) as among the highest of highs jobs. These are the people who break their backs to feed us, which btw keeps us alive! And until fairly recently they did this for a pittance where the middlemen got most of the take. I have the highest regards for farmers. For me they're up there with pilots and certainly whee doctors once were in my hierarchy. Of course today doctors are lower than lawyers since they've moved from taking the hippocratic oath to taking the hypocritic oath!!

Jul. 09 2013 11:58 AM
Donna from Montclair

Having grown up on a farm I can tell you that women have always done most of the farm work. The only thing women didn't generally do was mechanics, but they did everything else, including plow the fields. As a child I hung out in the shop with my uncle and boy cousins and half the time they were gabbing and drinking beer. I hated being with my aunt because that was work.

Jul. 09 2013 11:58 AM
Amy from Manhattan

What was the division of labor on farms before there *was* heavy machinery?

Jul. 09 2013 11:56 AM
Karen from Westchester

We've turned our suburban backyard into a vegetable garden and hope to grow an acre or so of vegetables on a small piece of property that we've purchased upstate. We also obtain veggies from an organic, self-sustaining CSA in the Hudson Valley, however, and have just received an e-mail newsletter from the farm owners, explaining that global climate change has so altered the ecology -- flora and fauna -- that it is becoming difficult to grow large amounts of vegetables without OMRI (organic) pesticides and fungicides. Two years ago, the CSA lost 15 acres of vegetables after the Kinderhook Creek flooded in Tropical Storm Irene. So while farming is wonderful -- our garden, probably about 1/4 acre, is great -- all of us need to be mindful that the climate in our area is changing and that, therefore, small farmers may be looking at hard times.

Jul. 09 2013 11:55 AM
Joe from nearby

Awesome. Go for it.

Jul. 09 2013 11:51 AM
Edie Roth

Great segment.
Farming didn't feel like an option to me 30 years ago when I graduated college....
are women more likely to be organic farmers....since they're "newer" to the field?

Jul. 09 2013 11:50 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.