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On East Coast Oyster Farms, 'Women Are Rising Up From The Bay In A Big Way'

More women are joining their male peers among the ranks of oyster farmers. This could be because of growing marine science programs — and a desire to have a hands-on connection with the food system.
Oyster farmer and scientist Lisa Calvo leads a team of women that harvests oysters along the New Jersey coast. Calvo says she is inspired by the tenacity, skill and grit of women now coming into the industry. Source: Jenn Hall

As sunrise paints the lower Delaware Bay's intertidal zone, the mudflats take on a metallic shimmer near Cape May, N.J. As visual poetry, it's arresting. But the tide is out — and the clock is ticking.

The receding water has revealed Sweet Amalia Oysters, so oyster farmer Lisa Calvo and her team get to work.

The team hoists plastic mesh bags from rebar racks. They sort the bivalves, shells clinking in rhythm. Only when you draw close to the wader-clad trio does a unique feature become apparent: The entire crew is female.

Calvo is a farmer-scientist. She has long been a player in New Jersey's oyster revival as the aquaculture extension program

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