From yesterday's gingham girls to today's Farmer Janes, The Midwest Farmer's Daughter unearths the untold history and renewed cultural currency of an American icon at a time when fully 30 percent of new farms in the United States are woman-owned. From farm women bloggers, to "back-to-the-land" homesteaders and seed-savers, to rural graphic novelists and, ultimately, to the seven generations of farm daughters who have animated his own family since before the Civil War, the author travels across the region to shine new documentary light on this seedbed for American virtue, energy, and ingenuity.
Packed with many memorable interviews, print artifacts, and historic images, this groundbreaking documentary history describes the centuries-long reiteration and reinterpretation of agrarian daughters in the field, over the airwaves, on the printed page, and in the court of public opinion. Offering a sweeping cultural and social history, it ranges widely and well from Jane Smiley's Pulitzer Prize-winning A Thousand Acres to Laura Ingalls Wilder's proto-feminist commentaries for the Missouri Ruralist; from the critical importance of rural girls and young women to time-honored organizations such as the Farm Bureau, 4-H, and FFA to the entrepreneurial role today's female agriculturalists and sustainable farm advocates play in farmers' markets, urban farms, and community-supported agriculture. For all those whose lives have been graced by the enduring strength of this regional and national touchstone, The Midwest Farmer's Daughter offers a one-of-a-kind scholarly examination and contemporary appreciation.
Listen to an interview with the author by clicking here. The interview with WBAA, Indiana's oldest operating radio station and an NPR affiliate, was first broadcast on August 23, 2012.