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Goal: Connecting kids with ag

By Staff | Nov 13, 2016

SHANNON LATHAM spends time on a regular basis with children visiting her Sheffield farm and helping them understand from where food is grown and how it gets to them.

SHEFFIELD (RFD-TV) – “Enchanted Acres” farm is more than a pumpkin patch, it is a haven for growth and learning in Sheffield in Franklin County.

FarmHer Shannon Latham spends each morning preparing her farm for the bus loads of kids who visit weekly.

While the farm is open to visitors of all ages, Latham puts a special emphasis on children and education working to create a connection with agriculture through hands-on interactions with crops, animals, and the 20 different varieties of pumpkins she cultivates and grows on her property.

“My favorite spot is sitting under the awning of the barn,” Latham said. “I just love the serenity of it. I always say that this is my happy place where I can forget about the cares of the world. I love the fact that you feel like you’ve done something at the end of the day.

“You’ve either grown something, produced it, or helped someone have a great experience and sending them home with great memories. I just like the fact that literally there are fruits to your labor.”

LATHAM HARVESTS pumpkins from a patch on her farm, Enchanted Acres, in Sheffield.

According to the USDA’s most recent census report, the number of women-led farms has tripled over the past four decades and remains one of the fastest-growing groups in the United States.

Today, females make up 32 percent of the farming workforce and are almost 1 million women strong. Despite these powerful statistics, female farmers have often gone unnoticed in farm imagery until now. RFD-TV’s new series, “FarmHer” focuses its camera lens on women in agriculture through the eyes of photographer and TV host Marji Guyler-Alaniz.

The original series takes viewers on a journey through a day in the life of many diverse “FarmHers” to explore what life on the farm looks like for women in agriculture.

“FarmHer” takes you inside the nitty-gritty lives of female farmers visiting an urban goat dairy farm in Tampa, an alpaca ranch in Colorado, an urban FarmHer helping the homeless in Austin, and even an 80-year-old woman who is committed to single-handedly caring for her 6,000-plus acre family ranch.

FarmHer was founded by Guyler-Alaniz in 2013 just after the “God Made a Farmer” Super Bowl Ram commercial aired. A few days after the commercial captivated America, she read an article discussing how it was a beautiful representation of America, but where were the women?

She struggled with this fact and decided she wanted to utilize her passion for photography to begin changing the image of agriculture to include women and sharing their stories.

The FarmHer concept started as an online community and photo project and has now grown into a new primetime television show on RFD-TV.

“I spent my career working in agriculture and never thought about how women were (or rather, weren’t) portrayed,” said Guyler-Alaniz. “I woke up in the middle of the night with the realization that instead of being frustrated, I had the ability to start changing the perception with my camera and show the world that women farm, too.”

“The thing that excites me the most about expanding “FarmHer” is that together with RFD-TV we can take the image of these women – images that really represent and stand for millions of women all over the world – to the next level,” said Guyler-Alaniz. “By incorporating video, we can really show these women at work and shine a much bigger light on who they are, what they do, and the beauty that each of them brings to agriculture.

“I hope by sharing these with a larger audience that we can inspire women, both within and outside agriculture, to go after their dreams, do what they want and find a way to succeed.”

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