I've been home for a month and I'm finally making space for some reflections. Upon my return, I hit the ground running with a bunch of photo shoots and a show but today I'm finally making space to write.
When I get back from an adventure like the past three months, it's difficult to answer the common question, "How was your trip?" How was my trip? Where do I start? So I really appreciated when a friend asked, instead, "What did you learn?" Aha! Now that is a question to which I can give a thoughtful answer.
The following is a short list of lessons and impressions, both Farm Stories and personal in nature:
1. Consumers do not know what food labels really mean. I wrote about this here but continue to be impressed (not in a good way) by our ignorance and lack of involvement in food that leads to this misunderstanding. If you're interested in learning more, I suggest reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.
2. Projects that take one abroad should be more planned than I realized. Maybe this is obvious to everyone but me, but I left thinking that things would just come together. Some things did beautifully and even when they didn't, I have interesting stories to tell. But I'm tired of wandering just to wander. I have a mission now and I want to do something about it.
3. People who run huge farms are not evil people. In fact, I found the big egg farmers that hosted me to be some of the most genuine and honest of them all. I'm so thankful for their openness to my questions and willingness to share their viewpoint.
4. I should never be in a foreign city for 3 weeks on my own. Even if it's Paris, the city that I hold dearest, it's going to be a rough ride for my extroverted and minimal-French-speaking-self to be happy.
5. As much as I love farm work, there's no good way to work on a farm and photograph it at the same time. Also, the best way to move forward is in collaboration with others.
Next up, what Farm Stories looks like now and what I envision for the future, after learning these lessons.