Among its many programs, the Iowa-based Women, Food and Ag Network is home to Plate for Politics, a nationwide effort to support and strengthen the role of women in the U.S. food system.
The program focuses on providing leadership training to women involved in food and farming. Priorities for Plate to Politics include:
- Provide in-person trainings for women passionate about healthy food and farming to ramp up their leadership in their communities and give them tools to run for public office.
- Develop a national database collecting and championing the inspiring stories of women farmers and food activists across the country and connect these women with leadership opportunities.
- Educate congressional leaders on policy issues of importance to women in sustainable agriculture.
- Create an informational toolkit and resources to educate and inspire voters on food issues.
- Support and further develop the authentic, positive message of this movement prioritizing health, economy and food in the media.
The number of women in ag is growing
Plate to Politics recently highlighted a Politico story, “A new era in ag as record number of women hold top state jobs.” Politico reported a record number of women – 13 – now lead state agriculture departments. The prior record was 10, according to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. The number could grow as the position was unfilled in five states.
This year, seven women took office leading state agriculture operations in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, Hawaii, South Dakota and Maine, Politico reported.
The 116th Congress has the largest number of female elected officials in history – 106 in the House and 25 in the Senate.
But there’s more to do
The reality is that most decision-making about food, agriculture and the environment is made without a woman at the table. This is even more true at the local level.
One way to nurture women in agricultural leadership is to gather a group of women for a Plate to Politics workshop. The program focuses on providing leadership training to women involved in food and agriculture. Workshops are being scheduled for the rest of 2019. Contact Plate to Politics for more information about scheduling a workshop.
Who created Plate to Politics?
Plate to Politics was created in 2011 as a collaborative project of Women, Food and Agriculture Network, the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service Rural Women’s Project and the now inactive White House Project.