Farmer Veteran Coalition to Host Conference for Women Veterans
March 4-5, 2016
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
Pocantico Hills, NY
With the goal of equipping women veterans with business and farming tools, Farmer Veteran Coalition hosted its third Empowering Women Veterans: Business, Agriculture and Well-Being Conference March 4-5, 2016, for more than 80 people at the prestigious Stone Barns Center in Pocantico Hills, New York.
The free conference was open to all active duty and veteran women, as well as women who farm with veterans. It featured daily on-site workshops in sheep production, year-round vegetable production, and farm-to-restaurant sales as well as educational presentations given by women veterans and other experts.
“As a woman veteran and a farmer, attending this conference has made my life better,” said Althea Raiford, Navy veteran and co-owner of Gilliard Farms, who has attended the previous two conferences. “The resources provided and the connections made cannot be duplicated anywhere else. I met my Soil Sisters at this conference—women with like minds and strengths.”
The keynote address was given by Dr. Anu Rangarajan, horticulture faculty member at Cornell University, who serves as the Statewide Fresh Market Vegetable Specialist and directs Cornell University’s Small Farm Program.
Additional speakers included Col. Cindy Chastain, Farmer Veteran Outreach Coordinator for the National AgrAbility Project, who spoke about her experiences in Afghanistan with an Agricultural Development Team and Dr. Tasha Hargrove, an Air Force veteran and assistant to the dean at Tuskegee University, who spoke about careers in agriculture for women.
A panel featuring successful women farmers shared their stories and a panel of women who have continued their service by creating nonprofits that aid their communities through food production also presented to attendees.