October 31, 2018
Long before I started FarmHer, back in my corporate agriculture days, I had heard of a farm women’s education program called Annie’s Project. I remember thinking that I liked what it had to offer. Fast forward a bunch of years and I found myself at a Nationwide meeting where I had the opportunity to meet Ruth Hambleton, the founder of the project that has helped educate thousands of women around the country. Ruth founded Annie's Project, which has now spread to 33 states and has over 15,000 graduates, upon seeing a need for a farm education program focused on women. She was an extension educator in Illinois and through her program, named after her mother, Annie, she launched a curriculum that has done more than fill a need, it has fueled a fire. It seems I can hardly go to a farm where I find a woman who hasn’t been affected by Ruth’s program. On a FarmHer trip through Illinois we made a short stop at Ruth’s own small farm. She and her husband live in rural Illinois. We walked around the property as she told me about Annie’s Project in the beginning, and humbly, she shared how it has grown. She showed me her small greenhouse, giving some insight into her love of growing things. Then a quick trip down to visit the small herd of cattle wrapped up our visit.
I am always amazed when I meet someone with such vision. Ruth didn’t set out to create a movement. She saw a need and went about creating the program to fill it. She pushed her program forward and built a team of people who were engaged and interested in seeing women on the farm succeed.
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