About the Project

Grounded Women shares the inspiring stories of powerful and committed women farmers—farmers who have chosen to create a purposeful life through sustainable agriculture. The work began as a photography project because I’ve spent the better part of my life as a photographer, but quickly developed into much more. As I spent time with the farmers, I wanted to write their stories, too.

The Grounded Women featured here are nurturers: of their hopes and dreams; of their land, their plants and animals; of our food; and ultimately of us.

The number of female-led farms has tripled since the 1970s, and women farmers compose one of the fastest-growing demographics in the U.S.

Who are these women? How did they come to choose farming as a career? Why did they risk everything to make a go of one of our country’s most demanding, least remunerated jobs? Every Grounded Woman is living a cliffhanger: Will I make it? How? Every Grounded Woman is contributing to the renewal not just of American agriculture but of the health of the American gut and psyche.
Lise Metzger at work in the field
I’ve spent years studying how the food we eat and the way it’s raised and distributed impact our health and the health of our communities and planet. It’s not a new story that our industrialized food system is not serving us. The American system of mass production and the food policies that subsidize that system have created an unhealthy diet using unsustainable methods. Cheap, over-processed food poisons our bodies, exploits our animals and food workers, degrades our land, pollutes our water, and depletes our natural resources.

The food we eat is at the heart of everything. We can’t live without it, and it can nurture and make us healthy, or it can make us sick. Thankfully, growing numbers of people are now involved in the work of creating real solutions.

Life makes sense to me when I am on a farm; I feel centered and healthy. But farming isn’t a choice many of us want or can make. These Grounded Women inspire us to create our own authentic life, to have our own healthy relationship to the earth and food, and to do our part—as each of us can—to heal our planet and ourselves.

Please subscribe to Grounded Women to be inspired by the stories, the strength and the wisdom of women farmers and to celebrate your own power to restore health and nurture life. And please join our Facebook community. We’d love to hear what you are up to.

This project is supported emotionally, creatively, and financially by many people, including my generous readers, for which I am grateful. I invite you to take a step beyond subscribing and send a gift, large or small or sustaining, to Grounded Women below.

A note about me: I’ve been a freelance photographer for more than 25 years (www.lisemetzger.com). I’ve shot for national ad campaigns, magazines, and corporations, and I offer personal branding imagery for women entrepreneurs. I find sustenance in the company of amazing women farmers who’ve welcomed me into their lives; in cooking up the fresh vegetables from the CSA I host at my house; in dear friends with whom I can noodle over life’s Big Questions; in the beauty of an open landscape; and in my strong daughter, now 20 and a grounded woman in her own right.

You can contact me at lise@lisemetzger.com for photography assignments, speaking engagements about the Grounded Women project, or to nominate a farmer to be featured. Or even for cooking advice for unfamiliar vegetables in your CSA box. Thank you for reading and for being part of the conversation.

Please consider directly supporting
this project via Paypal

If you would like to give in other ways, please contact Lise at lise@lisemetzger.com

12 Comments / Add your own comment below

  1. Would love to help you connect with some of the great women farmers we work with in Mississippi. Let me know if we can help at all! Love what you’re doing.

  2. Would love to help you connect with women farmers we work with in Mississippi! Let us know if we can help. Love what you’re doing.

  3. Have you been to beautiful Wisconsin? There are great group of lady farmers in Central Wisconsin 🙂

    1. Hi Polly. Forgive me for not replying–yikes I’m still trying to learn my way around WordPress and missed your comment. I haven’t spent much time in Central Wisconsin, but I can imagine how beautiful it is. I went to school at Beloit. Wouldn’t it be great to come out there and profile some of those hardy souls who not only take on the work of farming, but in the midwestern winter to boot! Can’t say I was a fan of those winters!

  4. Lise, This blog is really developing 🙂 I’m so excited to see it taking shape and getting deeper and dirtier. Thank you!

    1. Thank you Jennifer. I think Nora’s story is really going to resonate with you. Today’s post gives some historical background, and then next week will get into the heart of her story. She’s another inspiration.

  5. Hi Lise. I just found your blog and I’m loving it. Your writing and photography seem to so beautifully capture the wonder and grit of farm life. I started working for a local farm in Purcellville VA (not far from Moutoux) that has an amazing story and focuses on pasture raised grass fed only meats. It’s been a life changing experience and I NEVER would have guessed what really goes into farming as you mentioned. It’s also run by an amazing woman with a beautiful story of healing. I wonder if she’d be good for you to talk with as well!

  6. Good stuff! The stories so remind me of my early days in West Virginia, in the 1970’s when we moved here from Northern Virginia to escape the suburban sprawl. We lived without electricity until 1989, and learned a lot about living simply. Neighbors taught us to butcher, grow tobacco, make molasses, put up hay, preserve food without refrigeration and so much more. It was good times–very hard work, but very good times. I still live in the same place today, but it’s easier now. Just chickens, honeybees, gardens and us 🙂 The free help (five sons) grew up and moved on, but we still enjoy the quiet and sanctuary of our place, even if we’re no longer actively farming it.

    1. Hi Grannysu! I’m so glad you are enjoying the stories, and I love that you wrote in to share yours. It’s it funny how we look back on those times of really intense work and remember them as the good times? Did you also think that as you were living through it? Sounds like it was a grand adventure.

  7. Lisa,

    I’m so inspired by your story! I just subscribed to all of your posts. Would you be interested in being a guest on my podcast “Rural Women Inspired”? Please email me: mindymatt@myoungfarms.com

  8. Sherri Thompson-Brusca

    Everybody,

    Please pass on Lise’s blog to all your friends, family, and associates who you think would be interested, and encourage them to pass it on, too. What Lise’s doing here is incredible and vitally important. The more the word gets out, the better – about women farmers, community supported agriculture, healthy food, and this blog.

    Lise, thanks so much for what you’re doing here.

    Best,
    Sherri

    1. Thank you, Sherri, for your enthusiastic support!

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