Farming, Not Just For the Boys, New Program Has Girls Taking Lead

A Northern Michigan program is designed to get girls thinking about a life of agriculture.

A group of middle school girls are learning that, although farming is traditionally a man's world, women can farm too.

Farming For Our Future launched it's first Girls Can Farm program at Pond Hill in Harbor Springs this week.

9&10's Blayke Roznowski and photojournalist Erin Malone take us down to the farm where the girls are learning the agriculture business.

"They've come out and they've just blossomed," Girls Can Farm project manager Cindy Kramer said. "Everyone's outgoing. Everyone's working. It's been just fantastic."

Kramer says she noticed a lot of farm owners in the area are over 65-years-old. She started this program to bridge the gap.

"I thought it would be pretty cool if Farming For Our Future, which focuses on local foods and access to local foods, could have a Girls Can Farm to sort of start the ball rolling," Kramer said.

Girls Can Farm is a week long camp at Pond Hill Farm that offers different farming activities for girls to learn the tools of the trade.

"We harvested potatoes, raspberries," participant Autumn Naturkas said. "We got to feed animals, which was really fun too."

The girls sold their picks today at the farmers market. Then it was back to the farm to can pickles and learn to drive a tractor.

"I really liked how you get to experience how farmers do stuff and pick stuff and just learn their life pretty much," participant Claire Hoffman said.

By the end of the week, the girls will catch and clean their own fish and continue learning all about how girls can enjoy farming too.

"I've always hated the expression that only boys can do stuff," Hoffman said. "I really like doing it too because it makes me feel like I'm a part of something."

"I really like this camp," participant Heidi Paisley said, "and if they're doing it again next year, I'm definitely doing it."

Kramer hopes to offer the program and maybe more next year.