NOFA-VT offers paid opportunities for Vermont farmers and caregivers to share their stories while also building support networks
Project aims to fuel future advocacy and coalition work highlighting the unique challenges of farming and caregiving.
Abbie Corse, an owner and operator of the Corse Farm Dairy, has been learning to juggle mothering and farming for ten years. “I thought I would be able to become a mother and still farm, just like I had before,” Abbie recalled.
In fact, after having her first son, struggling through a difficult labor and trouble breastfeeding, difficulties finding child care, and working hard to keep the family farm going, Abbie felt more alone than she ever had in her life.
Abbie’s is one of many stories NOFA-VT has been hearing from Vermont farmers about the unique challenges of farming and caregiving. Throughout the pandemic, the increased demand for local food coupled with child care and schools being closed highlighted the need for farmer caregiver support.
“We were hearing that folks were feeling really alone. That they were feeling like bad parents, and bad farmers, too. Caregiving is undervalued in general in our society and even before the pandemic, there were false expectations around the ability of farmers to provide child care while they are farming,” said Megan Browning, NOFA-VT’s Farmer Services Program Facilitator.
In response to this need, NOFA-VT allocated some of its federal COVID funding to run a virtual farmer-to-farmer support series in December called “Help! I’m Farming and Caregiving in a Pandemic.” It was such a success they decided to repeat the series in March and the final session will be held on Monday, March 29.
In addition to the series, NOFA-VT is offering paid opportunities or farmers to connect and share their stories through interviews, articles, and recorded conversations to shed light on the challenges of farming and caregiving that are often overlooked and not talked about.
Anna Gebhardt is the Field Director for Let’s Grow Kids a nonprofit organization on a mission to ensure all Vermont families have access to high-quality, affordable child care by 2025. Gebhardt will be presenting at the March 29, “Help! I’m Farming and Caregiving in a Pandemic,” session about how farmers juggling caregiving can connect with child care advocates in their local communities and find support in sharing their stories to create change.
“We hope this work will build farmer-to-farmer relationships and support networks, and also provide a basis for future advocacy and coalition work to bring the unique challenges of farming and caregiving to light,” said Browning.
To find out more about how you can join the upcoming virtual support session on March 29 and/or participate in ongoing paid story sharing opportunities, visit https://nofavt.org/farming-and-caregiving or contact Megan at [email protected] or 802-434-7180.