Greenhouse Grower magazine and Indoor Ag-Conversations hosted a “Women in Agriculture” panel discussion in September. During the presentation, panelists focused on how women in agriculture can facilitate change. The program also highlighted how women can serve as examples for other women in the industry. Also discussesd, the challenges women face in the different sectors of the agriculture industry, and how to empower other women and inspire the next generation of women in agriculture.
The panel was moderated by Greenhouse Grower Editor Janeen Wright and Senior Editor Brian D. Sparks highlighted some of the tips our panelists shared in his October 27, 2020 article:
Surround Yourself with People Who Encourage You
Erika Summers, Sales Engineer at LMS Building Systems says when she first entered the engineering field, she quickly learned she had to prove herself.
“Fortunately, even though I was held to a higher standard by some, there were a lot of men who supported me and recognized the technical knowledge and skills I had,” Summers says. “Don’t feel like you have to remain in a non-supportive situation. Find a place where your expertise is valued.”
If you have experience in the market, it’s also important to be just as encouraging to the next generation.
“Take the time to talk to young women in your field and learn about their interests and what they want to do,” says Corinne Wilder, Vice President, Global Commercial Operations at Fluence By OSRAM. “Promote and nurture them and encourage them to offer their voice when change is needed.”
Promote Horticulture’s Multiple Career Options
You don’t need to have a green thumb to find your niche in the agriculture industry, and it’s important to emphasize this.
“With the growth in controlled-environment agriculture and scaled production of local produce, there are lots of angles to come into in this field,” says Amy Samples, Director of Community Outreach and People’s Programs at AppHarvest. “There’s a spot for you at this table if you’re willing to work hard.”
Use Social Media to Facilitate Connections
Career growth and networking resources such as LinkedIn can be helpful in both changing perceptions and encouraging career development.
“My favorite way to support women in agriculture is to connect them with each other, from one field to another,” says Charlotte Prud’Homme, Founder of Generation Permaculture Design.
Learn from the Past Experiences of Others
Each of the panelists recognized those women and men who inspired and motivated them. The key traits they share: patience, encouragement, and not being afraid to call for change when necessary.
“These women made their mark on the industry, and they encouraged me to do the same,” Summers says.