Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


“Gold Dirt:” An Exploratory Study of Beginner Women Farmers’ Experiences with Farmland Tenure Mediating Care for Soil in Willamette Valley, Oregon Public Deposited

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  • This thesis investigates how beginning, women farmers, within in a women farmers’ network in the Willamette Valley, Oregon are accessing land and farming information. Using ethnographic, community-based research methods, I ask how land access mediates their ability to care for their land and soil. Are these farmers interested in fostering “soil health” through methods of care via sustainable farming methods, or through building a long-term relationship with the microbiological-ecology of the soil and does this vary whether they are on leased or owned land? This study also interactions with farmer support institutions, programs, and organizations, both those that exist within the dominant agricultural paradigm and those that came from grassroots beginnings. The findings are examined through a multi-species, logic of care framework and in a discussion of gendered experiences of women as farmers. Part of the basis for this research emanated from an internship in which I worked directly with women farmers’ network coordinators, engaging with this community throughout the research process, creating space for dialogue and feedback upon presenting findings. In-depth interviews were conducted with self-selected informants from the community and those interviews then informed a survey that was sent out to the women farmers’ network. The nuances of their experiences will be highlighted and are as important to understanding the experiences of women farmers as is discussing their obvious differences and similarities.
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