MONROE, Wis. — This summer, pull on your farm boots, wear your sun hat and kick back on the farm. You can even be a farmer for the afternoon! For three days and with five unique components and involving more than twenty farms, the SOIL SISTERS culinary event celebrates Wisconsin’s family farms and rural life in and around the farming communities of Monroe, Brodhead, New Glarus, and Blanchardville, Wisconsin, from August 3 to 5, 2018.
This award-winning annual event, now in its seventh year and the largest women farmer led tour event of its kind in the country, falls during “Wisconsin Women in Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Week” from July 30 to August 5, an official proclamation by Governor Walker made to showcase the growth and impact of this movement in Wisconsin. Women represent approximately 11 percent of primary operators on all farms in Wisconsin, a higher number than neighboring Midwest states. Wisconsin has 1,180 organic farms, second in the country to California.
Recently featured in Midwest Living, Modern Farmer and Living the Country Life and the recipient of a 2018 Edible Madison Local Food Hero award, SOIL SISTERS brings the national spotlight to the inspiring stories of Wisconsin women-owned family farms that produce food and fiber while stewarding the landscape.
“Come meet your farmers and learn about local, seasonal food and how we can all transform what’s on our plate,” explains Dela Ends of Scotch Hill Farm, a founding member of SOIL SISTERS since the event started seven years ago. “From heirloom tomatoes to pickles, sheep to solar energy, farmstay bed & breakfasts to beef, we soil sisters offer a unique diversity of farm experiences showcasing the summer’s bounty.” SOIL SISTERS is a venture of the Wisconsin Farmers Union Foundation, in partnership with the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) and Renewing the Countryside.
SOIL SISTERS offers a range of on-farm “green acres” immersive workshops, from preserving the harvest to cheesemaking to a “behind the scenes” peek at what it would be like running your own farm. Dining events featuring items raised by the soil sisters include the Taste of Place at Cow & Quince restaurant, Farm to Table Dinner at Dorothy’s Range and a Pizza on the Farm fundraiser held at Inn Serendipity. Additionally, restaurants feature specials throughout the weekend showcasing local ingredients.
During the Tour of Farms on Sunday, August 5, five farms open their barn doors and welcome the public for free tours from 11 am to 6 pm. Savor summer vegetable farm recipes, grilled meats and other seasonal specialties at fundraising lunch stands during the Sunday Tour of Farms at Riemer Family Farm and Raleigh’s Hillside Farm, both in Brodhead.
“SOIL SISTERS highlights a cross-section of women farmers, representing one of the fastest growing groups of new growers prioritizing small-scale, diversified, community-focused agriculture,” says Darin Von Ruden, President of the Wisconsin Farmers Union Board of Directors and the Wisconsin Farmers Union Foundation.
The SOIL SISTERS event is a weekend celebration that includes:
- Green Acres: In Her Boots, a day long, hands-on program for aspiring women farmers. Facilitated by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); Friday, August 3; 10am – 3pm; ticketed event.
- Taste of Place at Cow & Quince restaurant: Kick-off the weekend at this local food celebration; Friday, August 3; 6 pm – 8 pm; $45 per adult; ticketed event.
- Green Acres Workshops: On-farm, hands-on fun and educational workshops; Friday, August 3 through Sunday, August 5; at various times and locations; ticketed events.
- Farm to Table Dinner hosted by Dorothy’s Range with a sit-down dinner featuring heritage pork; Saturday, August 4; 4pm – 8pm; $75 per adult; ticketed event.
- Pizza on the Farm fundraising meal hosted by Inn Serendipity, featuring made-to-order personal pizzas with local, award-winning Emmi Roth cheeses and root beer floats; Saturday, August 4, 5pm – 9pm; $35 per adult; $10 per child ages 2 to 12; children under 2 free; ticketed event.
- Tour of Farms: Farmstands are open at five farms, sharing eggs, fresh produce, cut flowers and hand-crafted items; tours throughout the day with some farms offering special demonstrations or activities. Delicious fundraising lunch stands featuring farm-raised ingredients at Riemer Family Farm and Raleigh’s Hillside Farm. Sunday, August 5; 11am – 6pm; free event; food for purchase.
- Dine Fine: Numerous participating restaurants feature menu specials. Friday, August 3 — Sunday, August 5; specials vary by participating restaurants.
“The Soil Sisters weekend celebrates women farmers pioneering new approaches to family farm businesses while honoring Wisconsin’s agricultural roots and encouraging new farms to launch,” adds Lauren Rudersdorf, who runs Raleigh’s Hillside Farm with her husband, Kyle, in Brodhead on farmland that has been in her family for generations. “I’m excited to host the In Her Boots workshop on August 3, during which myself and other soil sisters will share our farm start-up learnings and ideas with other women farmers with farm dreams, even if you have yet to plant a seed. That collaborative, supportive spirit is what soil sisters is all about.”
SOIL SISTERS is made possible by the Wisconsin Farmers Union Foundation, the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service and Renewing the Countryside. Additional sponsors or media partners include Edible Madison, Emmi Roth USA, Green County Tourism, Green County Economic Development Corporation, Adunate Word and Design, Cedar Crest Ice Cream, and the Monroe Chamber of Commerce.
— SOIL SISTERS
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