Filmmakers from Washington state want to tell the stories of America’s women farmers.
They are working on a new documentary film called “Women’s Work: The Untold Story of America’s Female Farmer.”
“We’ve been putting women back into the narrative of the modern-day story,” said co-executive producer Audra Mulkern, founder of the Female Farmer Project.
Traveling across the U.S., Mulkern wanted to learn more about the “sisters of our past,” trying to find women who stepped up during wars and times of crisis to work the land.
“Where were those women in the history books?” she said. “They just didn’t exist, and I really had to dig deep to find any images at all. That’s what really inspired this, to shine a light on those generations of farm women who are missing from history.”
The documentary will explore past and contemporary women from various regions, said David Tanner, co-executive producer.
Tanner and Mulkern met during a Focus on Farming conference in Snohomish County, Wash., and launched the partnership to make the documentary.
“Women are farming, they’ve always been farming,” Mulkern said. “What’s missing is their place in history. As we look at agricultural history, we have been conditioned to look at farming as sort of men’s work. We’d really love to reinsert women back into that narrative, to really celebrate those women who have done it all along and are still doing it, and inherited those wonderful legacies.”
The team launched a fundraising campaign March 8, which was International Women’s Day, with a goal of $50,000.
It’s important that the project has grassroots support, Mulkern said.
The filmmakers hope to broadcast the film nationwide next March for National Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.
They are still looking for stories, said Kara Rowe, co-executive producer.
“It seems like every little community has some grandmother’s journal or a little book their aunt put together that talks about what their great-grandmother did, some of those little stories that are out there but they’re more family heritages than publicly known,” she said. “We are still looking for some of those stories about our matriarchs that have always been there, it’s just that their stories aren’t as well-known as some of the male-dominated stories that are out there.”
Tanner and Rowe also directed the documentary, “The Gamble: The Washington Potato Story,” and produce the television show, “Washington Grown.”