Along with our friends at Nationwide, we are on a journey to better understand the “S-Word”, or as you might know it: sustainability. Yes, we are digging into sustainability in a whole new way. Sustainability carries a different meaning and connotation to each of us. It depends on who we are, what boots we wear on a daily basis, our background, our families, our businesses….you name it. So, to break this all down (‘FarmHer it’) I decided to have a discussion about what sustainability means to three women from three different parts of agriculture. Meet all three:
Julie Kenney, the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and a FarmHer right here in Iowa
Hannah borg, a FarmHer raising chickens in Nebraska
Casey Cox, a FarmHer from a diverse family farm in Georgia
These women are professionals, business owners, growers, and consumers and each have their own take on the “S-Word”.
The “S-Word” in Iowa
For Julie, in the many roles she plays as a human, the “S-Word” is more than just agriculture. Wife, Mom, Professional, FarmHer. Sometimes, sustainability is just keeping each role going or keeping all the balls in the air. It changes every minute of the day!
However, from the specific view of sustainability from the Department of Agriculture, it means sustaining the Iowans that they serve and looking at it from an environmental standpoint. Animal care, water quality, new practices, profitability…Again, keeping all of the balls in the air.
Family Farming and Preparing for the Future
Next, I chatted with Hannah. She is a sixth-generation FarmHer who has a special connection to our brand. She spent one summer with the FarmHerd as an amazing intern. Hannah agrees sustainability is hard to define whether that’s on the farm or as a person. But for her, sustainability is striving to lift her eyes and prepare for the future.
She has been back on her family farm for three years now and not only as the farm evolved, but so has she. The first year was survival mode, taking in and completing everything she could. The second-year was her year to thrive! She found what her identity on the farm was. And this year… strive.
Striving by being a better caretaker of the land, her health, and her family.
Hannah is no stranger to sustainability in agriculture either. Her family farm is a century farm. Talk about sustainable!
Being a Steward of All Things
Last, but certainly not least, Casey. Casey’s a FarmHer I met several years ago on her family farm in Georgia. The concept that comes to her mind when she thinks about sustainability is being a good steward. Not just of land, but in your community and life in general.
This includes being more selfless, careful, and responsible with the management of anything you have been entrusted with.
Juggling all the roles, being better prepared, and/or taking the job of a steward seriously are all are personal sustainability goals of FarmHers. But I think we can take each and every single one of these and relate them to how we see sustainability in agriculture too.
We all eat, and that is why farming will always matter. Everybody Eats is where the stories of food and farming intersect.
These stories told through my FarmHer lens connect us to our food and more importantly, the people behind it.
Nationwide’s Everybody Eats is a collection of stories of those who protect our rural communities, who grow our food with extraordinary care, and who provide support, education, and assistance to make sure Everybody Eats.