The conversations at Wednesday’s “In Her Boots Workshop” ranged from how to harvest carrots to how be moms on the farm.
Nearly 60 women, most of them farmers, gathered at a workshop at Clay Bottom Farm east of Goshen. They came from all over the Midwest to spend a few hours learning together and leaning on each other.
“This is great. I love it,” said Rachel Hershberger, who owns the farm with her husband Ben Hartman. “I love talking to farmers. I’m learning as much as they are, hopefully.”
The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service has conducted about 25 of these workshops in the last several years, including five this summer. Lisa Kivirist, M.O.S.E.S. Rural Women’s Project Coordinator, said this is the first in Indiana.
There were a few men at the workshop and Hartman presented alongside Hershberger about his book, “The Lean Farm” and the tools and processes they use. The workshops are “for women, by women” and though the primary topic for this one was cover crops, the participants chatted about planters, mulch and marketing. Many of the women are involved in vegetable production, not large-scale farming.
Kaley Necessary, who oversees the Alliance Gardens at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, said she’s been seeking mentors, but struggles to find female farmers from which to learn. “I think it’s just encouraging to be around like-minded people,” she said.
She’s training five interns at the one-half acre garden that’s growing food for a farmers market, and said she was inspired by the success and passion she encountered at the workshop.
Amy Matthews had heard about Clay Bottom and its success. As a farmer with South Circle Farm, a 1 1/2 acre farm in downtown Indianapolis, she wanted to see how Hartman and Hershberger work. “I wanted to see the farm in full swing,” she said. “It’s great. It’s always good to see in action.”