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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.

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.

  photo by Rachel Herrick of Slow Farm

photo by Rachel Herrick of Slow Farm

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.