Women are Changing the Way We Eat!

Temra Costa, author of Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat, explains how we can all vote for sustainability each time we shop and eat!


Women are passionate advocates for sustainable food and farming and have been changing the way America eats and farms for decades. Farmer Jane tells 30 such stories of some exceptional women leaders that are working on this change by farming, educating, advocating, and/or transforming how we eat through their food businesses.

CommitmentNow.com:  Farmer Jane: Women Changing The Way We Eat is a compelling book about how as farmers, chefs, educators and activists, women are changing the way we eat and farm. It also profiles 30 women in the sustainable food industry.  What inspired you to write Farmer Jane?

Temra Costa:  Being surrounded by women doing the work –as moms, chefs, farmers and advocates – and not hearing their stories.

CommitmentNow.com:  From 2002-2007 there was a 30% increase in women farm operators! To what do you attribute the increase in women’s roles – as farmers, eaters, educators and activists – in the sustainable food movement?

Temra:  The rise in local food demand – women are meeting this new demand as they are tending towards smaller diversified farms and oftentimes (more so than men) LOVE the marketing their foods to their community. It’s fun when you get to interact with your end user.

The other way that this is happening is that women oftentimes outlive their husbands and take over the farm. We’re seeing this a lot with cattle ranches right now.

CommitmentNow.com:  How did you first get involved in the sustainable food and farming movement?

Temra:  My grandma and two events in 1998:

1) I walked into a natural food store, The Williamson Street Cooperative in Madison, WI;

2) The Center for Food Safety launched a campaign to preserve the integrity of organic standards when the USDA was getting into the organic certification process. This launched my role as an advocate while I was studying agriculture at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

CommitmentNow.com:  What is the “delicious revolution?”

Temra:  The “delicious revolution” is what Alice Waters has referred to the local and sustainable food movement. Delicious because it tastes better – local foods, especially those bought at farmers markets – are picked as ripe as possible versus food that sits on shelves for weeks upon weeks. And also delicious, because it’s more FUN! We can celebrate our food, our community, our land through local meals. Not the anonymous meals with no place…

CommitmentNow.com:  The women you profile in Farmer Jane are admirable for their vision, commitment and hard work.  How can women who are not farmers help the sustainable food movement?

Temra:  At the end of each chapter there are steps for everyone, not just women, to get involved as eaters, farmers or food businesses.

CommitmentNow.com:  Where can we learn more about this topic?