More than half of the world’s farming population is female, yet they own fewer assets, have less access to the inputs they need (land, labor, seeds, money), have lower levels of access to services like training or insurance than men do.

I love my little lavender farm. I mean I really, really love it!  And I love people who love to farm. I am fortunate to know a lot of great women farmers that work hard and love what they do. They feed and clothe their families, and us, and rarely get any thanks or recognition. More than half of the world’s farming population is female, yet they own fewer assets, have less access to the inputs they need (land, labor, technology, seeds, money), and have lower levels of access to services like training or insurance than men do. And when they do produce a beautiful crop that is market-ready, they are less likely to be paid the same price a man would receive. I really love lavender, but I really hate inequality.

The United Nations and the World Bank along with scores of well-meaning non-profits have a ton of strategies to correct this problem but in my little corner to the world, I want to do my part for gender equality in agriculture by donating a share of Sixteen Sprigs’ profits to reduce this injustice and promote positive gender outcomes.

Each year I pledge to select a group of beautiful, hard-working women farmers or agri-entrepreneurs to support with my pledge of 20% of Sixteen Sprigs annual profits. This year my support will go to women who grow flowers in Tanzania. Why Tanzania? Because one of my former students is from this region and was an inspiration to me as she helped me years ago when I began my small lavender operation. After she finished her studies she would phone me up and ask if I needed any help on the farm. And she credited her labor on the farm for helping her heal from a horrible bout of cancer. Today she has her own farm back in Tanzania growing golden tagetes, or marigolds, for seeds that end up in those cute little seed packets we buy at our local nurseries. Now I want to give back to women like Eva who are bettering their life, one marigold at a time, and reinventing agriculture in the process. Later this summer, I’ll be traveling to Tanzania and will be able to deliver the ‘lavender love’ in person. Be a part of the ‘power of purple’ by helping me help Tanzanian women flower farmers. You can purchase Sixteen Sprigs products at local markets in the Lansing and Saint Johns’ areas. See our market page for more details.

img

Eva in her marigold field in Arusha, Tanzania (2017).