In many countries, New Zealand included, women are often the backbone of the family and farm business. They raise animals and families. Grow crops to feed stock and children. Wake early to milk and get the kids off to school. And if they’re not out on farm every day they are calf rearers and relief milkers, taking care of the paperwork and farm finances, and acting as a point of connection and support for their own networks and rural communities.
International Rural Women’s Day recognises the role of women in rural development, agriculture and providing nutrition for the rest of the world. This year, alongside some New Zealand business owners, we’re also celebrating the hard work our women put in to providing for our urban friends and family, and the connection between the morning milking and a morning flat white.
As the co-owner of Homebrew Coffee, Tayler Paterson appreciates the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to enable her to provide a cup of coffee, which is a staple in so many people’s lives.
“When other people come into our shop to get a coffee, I get to have real conversations and build meaningful connections with our customers. But that’s all centred around the coffee. Without the milk, and the beans, and the different products rural women are providing, we wouldn’t have the space to do that.
It’s really a village that brings the coffee together and there is so much behind the scenes, but because most of us drink it we often forget the work that goes into a cup of coffee. Roasting coffee beans is such a particular process that happens for weeks and months before it ever reaches our café, and it’s the same thing with raising and milking dairy cows. It’s something that my husband and I often talk about and we appreciate all the love that does end up in each cup. So thank you to all rural women working in agriculture around the world, because we wouldn’t be able to live out our dream without you.”
And what goes better with coffee than something sweet?
This Little Cakery
Lynn uses the best ingredients possible in her cakes, slices, fudge and macarons, for both quality and to recognise the time and energy that goes into every litre of milk or gram of butter.
“Milk, cream and butter feature quite heavily in my products, and I’ve always made a choice to use better, and real, ingredients because I do believe it affects the taste. In my business, everything I do is time for money, and I think it’s probably quite similar to how farmers and rural women operate. Everything they do is time for money as well and they’re out there looking after the land and their animals constantly. I have a high appreciation for people’s time – I think everyone’s time is valuable – so I use quality dairy products when I can because I know the amount of time and work and effort that goes into them.”
La Petite Chocolate
Producing chocolate that highlights the work of the rural New Zealand women who grow and supply their cocoa beans, chilis, hazelnuts and other ingredients is important to Asli Odman Gider from La Petite in Hawkes Bay.
“We try to source our ingredients locally and respect the stories of the growers behind them. Our chocolates are like a window to the stories of the growers. Those aren’t my words exactly, I once read it somewhere, but it resonates a lot with our philosophy. Seeing and tasting their products in our chocolate means a lot to the producers, and it’s an added value to an already beautifully made product.”
Even national chocolate company Whittaker’s uses only the best in New Zealand dairy products.
“Whittaker’s is proud to use only New Zealand milk in all of our world-class milk and white chocolate, which we make from beans-to-bar at our factory in Porirua. We appreciate and acknowledge the important role women play in New Zealand’s world-leading dairy industry this International Rural Women’s Day.”