On International Women’s Day, what better way to celebrate the role of farmers in Canada than to shine a light on the role of female farmers? After all, it is common to see a farm woman driving a combine, providing hot dinner for the harvest team, making grain marketing decisions, caring for children, and fulfilling multiple volunteer roles in their rural community. They are depended upon to keep it all together, even when the going gets rough.Members of the Friends of the Falher Library board do all of these things in their small, Peace River Valley town in northern Alberta.
In 2015, Wendy Gagnon of Falher, AB applied for a Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities grant on behalf of the Friends, whose efforts keep the library stocked with the latest titles and provide supplies for extra activities. When they won the $2,500, Gagnon and her fellow board members, four of whom are also farmers, put their heads together to make the most of the funds.
They not only ensured the library had some of the hottest and most recent books on its shelves, but the Friends also contributed their time and talents to make Bee a Reader farm safety bags to be distributed at the Falher Honey Festival in June 2016.
Like so many women in agriculture, the team is humble about their role. But Friends board member Jackie Garvin believes their contributions should be recognized.
“Wendy drew the farm safety colouring poster that was included in the gift bag; and other gifted members of the team built custom bookmarks and stickers from her images, creating something very unique and special,” Garvin shared. “The only reason you are getting to know this detail is because Wendy asked me to send pictures off to you while she is in the field supporting her family and farm this week. Like many community leaders, she tends to be very modest about her significant contributions and the vital role she plays in strengthening our farming community.”
Canadian farm women truly do grow their communities. Let’s celebrate their incredible contributions – on International Women’s Day and every day.
Celebrate your accomplishments or show your support for a farm woman on social media by using the hashtags: #IWD2017 #BeBoldForChange