Women and the Family Farm
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James McCowan Memorial Social History Society



Please carefully read our "Oral History Interview Strategy". It is vitally important that you record your personal experiences and memories of specific events. The following questions should trigger particular memories. Please include as much detail as possible.

Your observations of your grandmothers, your aunts and your mother are also very important. As you recall incidents in your own adulthood, search your memory for similar -- or contrasting -- experiences of your elders that you had witnessed as a child.

Your Grandmother

1 If possible, describe your grandmother's place in the management of the family farm.

1.1 Did she make major decisions relating to financing, equipment purchasing, hired help?
1.2 What was her relationship with your grandfather vis a vis the farm management?
1.3 Did she look after the house, garden, poultry?
1.4 What other duties did she have?
1.5 How many children did she have?

2 Did you witness any incidents that tend to illustrate her relationship with the land?
3 What economic security did she have with the land?
4 Did she have a pension?

Your Mother

5 As above, describe your mother's place in the management of the family farm.
6 Was your mother widowed early in life?
7 Was she able to obtain credit to run the farm and raise the family?

Your Youth

8 What educational opportunities did you have?
9 Were you in 4-H?
10 Were you in Junior Farmers?
11 How did you relate to young women from the city?
12 Did your parents expect you to marry a local farmer?
13 Did you want to marry a local farmer?
14 Did agriculture-related career opportunities off the farm present themselves?
15 What series of events caused you to stay in the farm life?
16 What series of events led to your selection of a career unrelated to agriculture?

Your Adulthood

17 Describe the farm operation.
18 How long had the farm been in the family or did you and your husband purchase the farm together?
19 What was your position in the management of the family farm?
20 Who kept the farm business records?
21 Did you belong to the Women's Institute?
22 Did you belong to a farm women action group or other farm organization?
23 Did you actively participate in farm organization business meetings that were traditionally dominated by men?
24 Did you experience discrimination?
25 What were your experiences with the feminist movement?
26 What was your top priority on the farm?
27 Did your husband help with the household chores?
28 Did you take a job off the farm? Why? (eg: to purchase household goods, to purchase farm equipment, to improve opportunities for your children, for the fringe benefits)
29 Were off-farm jobs abundant? How far did you have to travel?
30 How did new home appliances change your position in the management of the farm or otherwise alter your attitudes?
31 How has family law reform altered your attitudes and your position on the farm?
32 How did large farm equipment purchases alter your position?
33 What was your relationship with hired help?
34 Describe any accidents that you had on the farm.
35 Did you have any experiences with the media regarding your role on the farm?
36 What was the nature of the community: strictly agricultural and related services or a combination of agricultural and city commuter?

Your Visions for the Future

37 What level of child care should be provided?
38 What changes to family law are desirable with respect to the farm property?
39 What changes to pension plans are desirable?
40 What should be done about discrimination?
41 How should the attitude of the media change?
42 How should the urban dweller be educated as to the importance of the family farm?
43 How should the Women's Institute change?
44 What business / agricultural education opportunities should be offered?

From The Scarboro Heights Record V9 #4