Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fairview, NC: Imladris Farm, visited by The Buncombe County Fruit Nuts

Have you ever heard of bio-char?

Here in Western North Carolina, both Kacy and I have suddenly become extremely busy with other projects and jobs.  Since we haven't had time to regularly post profiles of our interviewees lately, I'd like to copy/link a post from another great organization.

In March, I visited Imladris farm, a successful business focusing on rabbits and on berry jams.  An informal group, based in Asheville and calling themselves the Buncombe Fuit Nuts (formerly the more descriptive Buncombe County Fruit and Nut Club), organized a 30-person visit to Walter Harrill's small mountain farm, and I went along for the education and the photographs.  Walter is one of the more practical, warm, and generally nice-guy farmers that I've had the pleasure to meet!

Click here for the full post from the Fruit Nuts blog, and click the jump for a copied version of the post, with my photographs.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Brief Update and Some Favorite Portraits

If you've been following the Stewards project for awhile, you may have noticed that our transcriptions and profiles are slowing down a bit.  This is because of a few things.  For one, it's summer again and there's simply not as much time to spend on the computer while the sun is shining. 

For another, we are seeking funding again to continue this project.  Without financial support we must work on the transcriptions during our free time, and these one- or two-hour conversations take many hours of work.  

Because of this we will be posting fewer full transcriptions from now on.  Posts will contain more narratives and photographs, along with some posts of topical discussion.

We have an endless well of conversations available to us; there are many farmers out there to speak with, and we have over 50 interviews completed that we haven't even told you about yet, from Kansas to Oregon.  We'll get there.

We hope that this project will serve to archive a point in history and provide perspective to the polarized fields of food and agriculture.  Readers are encouraged to read profiles and interviews with farmers whom they agree with and disagree with.  We will continue to collect and share, though a final end product is still unclear and vague.

This time last year, Mothers' Day, we were completing interviews in Vermont and driving to Connecticut to visit Kacy's mother.  We stayed there for a few days and conducted interviews around Connecticut; we then had an adventure in New York City and worked our way slowly through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and then went east through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and all the way to California and Oregon.  We learned an incredible amount, and we averaged 6 interviews a week over 5.5 months.  That'a a lot of conversation.

And a lot of perspectives.  Food and farming is a hot subject these days.  We are not advocates for any particular type of farming, but we remind you that there are stories and passions behind every style of agriculture, from the activists to the old-timers to the geneticists.  

For now, here's a treat of some of our favorite portraits from the trip, many of whom we haven't yet shared.  Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

Oh, and if you use Facebook, we've started a page for the project.  Be our friend, here!

Connecticut: Backyard farmer.

Denver, Colorado: Urban farmer.

Penrose, Colorado: Orchardist.

Rifle, Colorado: Cattle Rancher.

Utah: Melon Grower.

Davis, California: Seed Technology Professor.

Medford, Oregon: Diversified Farmer.

Mt. Angel, Oregon: Hop Growers.

Canby, Oregon: Hazelnut Growers.

Nehalem, Oregon: Diversified Small Farmer.

Dayton, Virginia: Dairyman.

Bay City, Oregon: Horse Enthusiast.

Bay City Oregon: Veternarians.

Missouri: Crop Farmer.

Colorado: Penitentiary Agriculture Manager.

Industry Maine: Seed and Potato Grower.  

 McAlevy's Fort, Pennsylvania: Diversified Farmers.

 Ashland, Oregon: Farm Manager.

 California: Rice Farmer.

 North Carolina: Student Garden Crew.

Kansas: Wheat Farmers.

Thanks again for reading.  These stories are important, and we can only imagine what agriculture will look like in ten years. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ag Video Thursday: Pigs and Tango

Today we have a short film, courtesy of the Southern Foodways Alliance, a group that also works with oral histories around the South.

Emile DeFelice is a pig farmer in South Carolina.  He speaks with interest and love for his pigs, linking the process, the business, and the practical work of raising hogs to philosophy and the intimate art of dance. 

It's about 12 minutes long, and a nice, inspiring video to wake up to on a sunny morning.  Let us know what else you'd like to see!

RIDE THAT PIG TO GLORY from UM Media Documentary Projects on Vimeo.