On this week’s episode of The Rural Woman Podcast you’ll get to hear from Amy VanderHeide. Amy calls the beautiful and diverse landscape of the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia home. She grew up next door to her grandmother’s beef farm and now farms full time with her husband and in-laws on their poultry and crop farm. She and her husband also own a small beef herd on the side. She and her husband James have 3 sons, ages 5, 7, and 11, who can usually be found tagging along with either one of their parents on the farm.
Growing up, Amy was very intent on spending as much time with her aunts and grandmother on the family’s beef farm as much she possibly could. She says she didn’t realize until she was grown and making her own path in the agriculture world, just how rare a farm operated by women was, especially at that time. Growing up with those women as role models has been a huge inspiration in her drive to champion for women in agriculture.
In 2015, she and Katie Keddy founded the Maritime Ag Women’s Network, which connects women in all areas of agriculture and farming throughout the Maritimes. Although it began as a means to stay in touch with people they had met at a recent Atlantic Farm Women’s Conference, it quickly grew and the realization hit them that mediums like this group were not only wanted in the area, but very needed as many women were reaching out to connect with other farm women. The group is now reaching 1000 members and involves everyone from homesteaders, small and large scale farmers, researchers, scientists, and ag support positions. Topics of discussion include everything from serious topics of farm transition, taxes, and mental health to searching out juggling children and farm lives, finding women’s work wear and celebrating the small victories with each other.
Aside from the family farm, Amy worked as a teenager Oaklawn Farm Zoo in Aylesford NS, as a research assistant for her aunts Agri Services business and has helped train other farmers implementing their On-Farm Food Safety Program.
Amy is very active in her community as a 4H leader, Kings County Federation of Agriculture board member and Agriculture Committee member with the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce. In 2018, she was awarded the Outstanding Woman in Atlantic Agriculture Award at the Atlantic Farm Women’s Conference. She is very enthusiastic about working with youth through 4H, talking about agriculture and food in schools as well as sharing her passion for Agriculture and stories of life on the family farm on Social Media
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Links Mentioned in The Show
4H Canada | Website
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