Through many conversations that I’ve had with farmers over the last couple weeks, I am being confronted with hard facts that are challenging my food ideals and therefore the shape of Farm Stories. For this reason, I’ve put off blogging since being in England. I thought you may be disappointed… but that’s really because I’m a bit disappointed. My experiences have not been what I expected and it’s raising many questions. What if keeping laying hens in cages is not only a more economically viable option for farmers, but keeps happy and healthy birds too? What if supermarkets are actually sourcing local foods? Is the Slow Food perspective actually supporting farmers and food producers? Is it too privileged and pretentious to expect to eat organic, local food?
In the end I think that I’m really asking, “What if there is not a right and wrong or black and white?”
I guess I had a quintessential “small farm” idea of the places that I’d be visiting and therefore the warm fuzzy, easy images that I’d capture during my stays. Hmmm… It’s easy to say that this has not been the case. Most of the farms that I’ve visited are much larger than I expected. For example, 80,000 laying hens. Holy cow! That’s a lot of chickens, right? But this is England and scale is so different here. In America, thethirteenth largest egg producer has 6 million hens. So really 80,000 is nothing.
So now my question is, how do I best “connect people with farmers who encourage healthy stewardship of our bodies, communities, and earth”? The artist in me only wants to share beautiful images. The activist in me wants to share the nitty gritty, bad and the ugly. Ultimately I want truth, which I know can be seen in many ways.
I still don’t know exactly what to think or do but I’m easing into the questions. I do know that I don’t want to tell a “Food, Inc” type story, damning The Man. Rather, my objective is to share something positive and hopeful.
I would genuinely appreciate your feedback. What are your ideas? What would you like to see? Questions? Thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment or email me at kelley [at] kelleyjordanphotography [dot] com.