Steph Larsen

Steph Larsen lives in Lyons, Nebraska, where she and her partner are "part-time farmers," growing food for themselves and their community. Steph holds a master's degree in geography from her home state of Wisconsin and serves on the board of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network.

Stick a pitchfork in it

When are we going to stop seeing farmers as rubes and hayseeds?

Is this really what farmers look like? Our culture abounds with images of farmers. Sadly, many of them are insulting. Stereotypes tell us that farmers are male, white, uneducated, dirty, backwards-thinking, and talk with a funny accent. Farmers don’t get off the farm much, they like chewing on the ends of long stalks of grass, they wear overalls, and they have large wives named Helga and lots of children. If you don’t believe me, do a Google image search for “farmer.” The cartoons are especially instructive on how society views farmers. Collectively, we don’t think of farming as an occupation …

Paying the farm bills

For once, developments in Washington could make things better on the farm

The outlook for small farms could be getting a bit sunnier.Photo: andyrobeI write on Grist about my small farm, but my day job is different. I’m an organizer for the Nebraska-based Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA). One of the things we do at CFRA is try to tweak federal farm policies in ways that help rural farm communities thrive. And this past week, I’ve been thinking a lot about developments in Washington that affect both new farmers and rural communities in general. Recently, White House phone lines have been ringing off the hook as thousands of consumers responded to a …

Cold comfort farm

Keeping farm animals alive in a freezing Nebraska winter

Don’t let the Arctic look fool you — Thistle Root Farm is a beehive of activity. Photo: Steph LarsenSparkling snow blankets a dormant pasture, and a red barn stands out starkly against a sea of white. Winter is a beautiful season on the prairie. Everything looks quiet and peaceful, but there’s still a lot of activity at Thistle Root Farm — most of it indoors. Winter is planning time on our rural Nebraska farm, and we’ve already ordered our seeds and trees, mapped out the 2011 garden rotation, ordered a new tiller, and started preparing for the animal babies that …

Buy-over country

Welcome to the food deserts of rural America

How is it possible that people in farm country have a hard time finding food? In short, food deserts are complicated.

Shooting pains

Do I need a gun to be a farmer?

There are a lot of predators around here, so it's not surprising my neighbor asked if we planned to buy a firearm to protect our farm. But I'd rather rely on my beau and Arrow, our shepherd.

Green acreage

Reflections on my farm’s first year

A year ago, we signed the deed for our 12-acre farm, and I prepared for a crash course in country living.

Light my fire

Feeding our wood stove in winter

Our farm provides more than nutrition. We also have the land to thank for the toasty living room I now enjoy.

Embracing your inner housewife

Today’s DIY women: Post-'domestic’?

I grow, knit, preserve, and cook. But I am pretty far from being what I think of as “traditional.”

Dam Yankees

Herding sheep is like herding people: Desire works better than fear

Moving my sheep into their barn for the winter has me thinking woolly thoughts about flocks of various kinds.

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