A filmmaker hopes a new documentary will highlight women in ag
By Diego Flammini
An Alberta filmmaker wants to showcase the diversity in the province’s ag industry.
Kelsey van Moorsel, pictured above, is one of the producers of Picture A Farmer, a documentary that focuses on women who are taking ownership of the title of farmer.
Women have always been an important part of agriculture, but haven’t always received the recognition, said Moorsel, who grew up on a sugar beet farm in Alberta. She honed her film skills at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ont.
“I’ve always been surrounded by strong farm families. I have seen these strong women who have been heavily involved in keeping their farms afloat but often didn’t identify themselves as a farmer,” she told Farms.com today.
Van Moorsel wants viewers of the documentary to come away with a different idea of what a farmer is.
Farmers are not always middle-aged white men, she said.
Women “were always either the farmer’s wife or the farmer’s daughter, even though, in addition to raising children, they were out on the combine or herding cattle,” she said. “I want to change some of these unconscious biases about what women are doing on the farm.”
Data also highlights women’s involvement in ag.
Canada had a total of 77,970 female farmers in 2016 and they accounted for 28.7 per cent of the total survey pool, the census of agriculture says. That percentage was up slightly from 2011, when women accounted for about 27 per cent of Canadian farmers.
The census figures, as well as farmers’ use of social media, are facilitating discussions about female farmers, van Moorsel said.
“The perception is changing, and people are more open to highlighting the stories of women in ag,” she said. “There’s still more work to be done and we’re hoping this film project can help.”
Van Moorsel is hopeful the project will receive some funding to help it along.
She applied for support through TELUS STORYHIVE. The telecommunications company will provide financial assistance for 30 projects. Community votes will determine half of the winners and a panel will select the other 15.
The recipients will be revealed Sept. 7.
Kelsey van Moorsel photo