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Historical Women In Ag

Audra Mulkern loved going to farmer’s markets near Seattle, Washington. She’d talk to the farmers, and noticed there were women behind every single table. This set her on a path to learn more about female farmers and research the history of women in agriculture.

She found that not only are women missing from the historical narrative, but from the modern- day story as well. She started taking pictures and documenting the farm women in her community, and eventually in other states.

"The stories that I kept hearing over and over was how difficult it is for women to access financing, to get access to land," says Mulkern. "And I realized that it was because of our history and not acknowledging women’s role in agriculture, that that was the consequence. The things were not in place because we hadn’t counted women."

Mulkern decided it was time to place farm women back in history, but finding documentation and images has been a big challenge. She has been persistent, and is now creating a documentary to air on PBS in the future.

"Of incredible women who had the fortitude and the vision for the future that developed enterprises that have echoed through generations," she says. "You know, women like Anna Baldwin who patented the vacuum-style milker, but she’s not really included in that whole story about how modern-day milking came about."

Mulkern would love to hear about the historical farm women in your family. Learn more about the project and nominate a farm woman.