Q: Do I need to pre-register?
A: No pre-registration needed. Please just come and enjoy the day on Sunday, August 5.
Q: How should I plan my day?
A: See here for a map for the six participating farms. Please note unfortunately Lucky Dog Farmstay will not be on the tour due to a family emergency. Farms will be open 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Remember there is significant distance between farms, for example it is about 40 scenic miles or a beautiful hour drive between Blanchardville and Brodhead. Don’t push it to try to see every farm — rather take your time and linger and learn. Look for “Boots and Balloons” at the driveway of each farm for identification. Some farm driveways may be closed to avoid congestion; please then park on the road. Farm hosts and volunteers will be wearing brown “Soil Sisters” t-shirts and hats. Please “check-in” with them to get the scoop.
Q: Are the farms hosting tours at specific times?
A: Each farm will be open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm during the tour and will run tours as needed throughout that time. This more informal “open house” format encourages conversations, questions and leisurely enjoying the summer afternoon.
Q: Can I bring my kids?
A: You bet. This tour will have a special focus on connecting kids with their food source and each farm will offer a free, hands-on activity for children. Remember these are working farms and parents are responsible for their children. Keep your kids with you at all times.
Q: Can I bring my dog?
A: As many of the farms have livestock and animals that already call that spot home, please leave your pets at home.
Q: What should I bring or wear?
A: Dress for the weather. The Farm Tour will take place rain or shine. Bring your water bottles and wear sturdy walking shoes or boots. Many of the farms will have a range of homegrown products for sale. Be sure to bring a cooler and ice (several will have meat for sale) and cash (not all farms accept credit cards).
Q: I can’t make it on August 5 but this sounds terrific. Are you doing it again?
A: This is the first official Soil Sisters farm tour in South Central Wisconsin and response has been great so we’re hoping to do one again next year. In the meantime, please check out each farm’s websites as many do their own open houses, workshops and other events throughout the year.
Q: Why a tour just focused on women farmers?
A: According to the last USDA Agriculture Census, the number of women-owned farms grew nearly 30%, making women one of the fastest growing populations of new farmers. Many of these new operations champion the type of farming you’ll see on this tour: small-scale and diversified operations supporting sustainable agriculture and committed to feeding local communities. Many of the women farmers on this tour run these operations in grateful partnership with spouses, partners, siblings, children family and friends.
Q: I haven’t told anyone yet, but I have this dream of starting a farm someday. Any advice?
A: Many of the women farmers on the tour were in your shoes, several starting farms after urban corporate careers. This tour is intended to be a venue for you to ask open questions and get honest answers on their experiences and advice.
The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) is a non-profit organizations dedicated to supporting organic and sustainable agriculture farmers. The MOSES website has many free resources for beginning farmers and offers various free field days throughout the summer. The MOSES Rural Women’s Project offers programming specifically for women farmers, including the In Her Boots: Sustainable Farming For Women, by Women workshop series.