Meet 9 women that are redefining ‘farm-to-table’ in 2019

This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the farmers, entrepreneurs, leaders, and disruptors who inspire us every day. These women have gone above and beyond to bring positive change to food and agriculture in communities around the world!

#1 : The Plant Scientist

Dana Lucas

Crop Specialist at Freight Farms


Dana is the resident crop specialist at Freight Farms in Boston. Not only has her expertise helped us grow experimental crops like green beans, tomatoes, and strawberries, but she was indispensable in developing the Greenery, our Next Gen farm! Dana is on the forefront of AgTech, using her vast knowledge of plants to produce bigger, tastier, and faster growing crops. She is also a sage teacher: as the lead instructor in Farm Camp, author of our online training program, and on-call support specialist, her time is spent equally between nurturing plants and nurturing farmers.

We’re in the AgTech Revolution of the 21st century. Today it’s as much about the technology as it is about inspiring people to get excited and educated about their food.
— Dana Lucas
Dana helps to train new Freight Farmers

Dana helps to train new Freight Farmers

#2 : The Faith Farmer

Rev. faith fowler

Executive director of CASS COmmunity SOCIAL SERVICES

Rev. Faith Fowler is not your typical spiritual leader. Coworkers have described Rev. Fowler as “a combination of CEO, COO, CFO and Mother Teresa all rolled into one,” and we think we’re inclined to agree.

Since becoming pastor of Cass Community United Methodist Church and the Executive Director of Cass Community Social Services in 1994, she has worked tirelessly to bring security to the often-overlooked residents of inner-city Detroit. Most famous for her Tiny Homes initiative to help at-risk populations achieve home ownership, Rev. Fowler’s non-profit also deals with issues of job, healthcare, and food inequality.

Photo:  Feedstuffs

Photo: Feedstuffs

This last bucket is how our paths intersected: Rev. Fowler turned to long-time community partner Ford Motors to start small-space farming to bring her community access to healthy food. The result? The Ford Freight Farm, which brings fresh greens into Cass Community’s kitchen and will eventually be sold to create a viable revenue stream for Cass’ other non-profit branches.

It means fresh produce all year round, which is really huge. Homeless people have a number of issues that are exacerbated by junk food, poor nutrition...Salads and greens and herbs are good for them.
— Rev. Faith Fowler

Quote source: The Detroit News

#3 : The Tastemaker

Cat Neville

Host and Creator of tastemakers on pbs


We had the pleasure of working with Cat when she and her crew came to film at the office for Season 1 of PBS Tastemakers. Cat’s prestigious reputation preceded her arrival–7 Emmy awards are only the beginning of an impressive list of accomplishments. What we were not prepared for was her humbleness, humor, and dedication to documenting American ‘makers’. Beyond Freight Farms, Cat has helped highlight and celebrate the unique stories of farmers, beekeepers, brewers, and fishermen with the skill of a seasoned documentarian. See for yourself when you watch our full episode!

I am endlessly inspired by the people I cover and strive to develop content that matches their passion.
— Cat Neville

#4 and #5 : The Modern Business-women

Some of our greatest inspirations come from women who run successful businesses with the intention of making a lasting impact on their communities. Sarah and Tamara are two such exceptional women who focus on changing their food landscapes with fresh and local produce. As business owners, entrepreneurs, and farmers (not to mention loving homemakers and mothers), they see themselves as small building blocks in the creating a healthier society.

Sarah Ward

Oasis Springs Farm in Nashua, NH

Photo:  @oasisspringsfarm  on Instagram

Photo: @oasisspringsfarm on Instagram

There are so many forces in our society promoting cheap, bad for us food. I like to think that even if I have a tiny part in getting people excited about eating more leafy greens that I am doing the right thing.
— Sarah Ward, Oasis Springs Farm

Tamara Knott

Bright Greens Canada in Saanichton, BC

Photo:  @brightgreenscanada  on Instagram

Photo: @brightgreenscanada on Instagram

I was looking to change careers and do something active. Living in Canada I was so disappointed by the poor quality greens available through much of the year. When I saw there was a proven way I could grow over 5 tons of produce every year, I knew I had to pursue it.
— Tamara Knott, Bright Greens Canada

#6 & #7: The Educators

Olivia Engel

Fresh Ideas Farmer at Maryville University


Olivia’s role as campus farmer combines nutrition and education in a whole new way. As an employee of the Fresh Ideas food service group, she manages a Leafy Green Machine on Maryville’s campus, bringing students unprecedented access to fresh food directly in their dining halls. She also manages interns and gives presentations throughout the semester on topics of sustainability, food production, food waste, and the power of green initiatives on campus and in our daily lives.

People need fresh produce. They need real nutrition, and it needs to be affordable...We have to think holistically and work together.
— Olivia Engel

Jill IsenBarger

CEO of the Stone Barns Center


Jill caught our attention with her work at the Stone Barns Center. Jill’s motivation for building the Center came from her previous experience at the Nature Conservancy, where she saw how much our current food production methods are directly contributing to global environmental issues. While many people recognize these deficiencies in our food system, Jill actually decided to do something about it! She created the Stone Barns Center with two goals: to innovate and experiment with crop production, and to facilitate learning for anyone who is interested in changing a broken food system.

Quote source: FoodTank

If you want to enjoy a diet of variety, you must have healthy soil and water. Food can be the gateway for connecting to the environment.
— Jill Isenbarger

#8 : The Wonder Woman

Heather Davis

Whynot farm in statesville, NC and Chuckey, TN

Heather is a modern-day superhero. She’s the president and chief investment officer of Nuveen Private Markets, co-owns WhyNot Farm with her husband (home to happy, grass-fed, pasture-raised alpacas, goats, pigs, donkeys, and cattle), and is a prolific abstract artist.

Now, she’s adding container farmer to her impressive list of accomplishments. One of our first Greenery customers, Heather represents the best in our farmers: determined, entrepreneurial, and ready to make a change.

Heather’s main priority is sustainability. She chose to Freight Farm to expand the reach of her pasture farm with our water saving system. Once delivered, she’ll be adding solar panels to make the farm even more environmentally friendly.

Photo: WhyNot Farm on  Facebook

Photo: WhyNot Farm on Facebook

#9: The Conversation Starter

Danielle Nierenberg

President of Food Tank

Danielle is arguably one of the most respected food experts of our time. Her company, Food Tank, is a nonprofit organization with the goal of “building a global community of safe, healthy, and nourished eaters” (FoodTank) through independent research into the food system and global food summits. The summits are designed to bring together people from across the food industry and get them engaged in meaningful conversation.

We agree. We need people like Danielle and her team to not only help us discover new information, but to create a platform for sharing, co-creating, and growing our understanding. We love that Danielle isn’t afraid to shake things up by including people of all backgrounds and with often opposing opinions.

We want to bring people together for the sake of good conversation, but sometimes it’s important to have an uncomfortable conversation, and allow for unusual collaborations to develop.
— Danielle Nierenberg

Quote Source: Modern Farmer

Want to meet more bad*ss Freight Farmers? We know plenty.

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