ORGANIC: A Photographer's Journey Through Documenting, Learning and Teaching

Just in case you missed it, I thought I would post the photos from my recent art show. The show is taken down and I have officially graduated with my master's degree (hooray!). I had a couple of friends who requested the opportunity to view the show online since they couldn't make it (apparently Florida was too far away to come...whatever.)

First, my artist statement (Sidenote: you are not allowed to find any typos as this statement has been published in my official paper and was hanging up with the show for the last month. Thank you.):

If I could, I would eat, sleep, and breathe photography. I fell in love with the medium while taking a film photography class as a sophomore in college. The smell of the darkroom, the anticipation of waiting for a roll of film to develop to see my images for the first time, the magic of watching pictures appear on paper while soaking in developing chemicals: all of these things were exhilarating for me. As I was learning the process of film photography, digital technology was growing at a rapid pace. Before I graduated from college I was working primarily with digital cameras and editing in Photoshop, a new process that I found just as intoxicating.

Although my artistic interests span many subjects, photography is my true love. Through my business, Paper Lemon Photography, I am blessed with the opportunity to make images of people, my favorite subject. Whenever possible, I incorporate digital photography into my art classroom, teaching my students the technique of creating photographs. As an art education graduate student, I wanted the opportunity to sharpen my own photography skills and explore new possibilities of how to best teach my students.

Organic: a Photographer’s Journey Through Documenting, Learning, and Teaching is the study I completed for my Master’s thesis project. The project started as a way for me to take pictures of places and people outside of my normal photography realm of weddings, senior pictures, and family portraits, but it became much more. It reinvented my love for all aspects of photography and allowed me to re-think the essentials of teaching it to my students. The process challenged me to discover new ways to document moments in time in a meaningful, informative, and artistic way.

The farmers I met are passionate about their trade. I witnessed the long hours they put into their work: rising with the sun to plant, weed, and water. I observed the thoughtfulness that goes into planning the layout of vegetable beds, harvesting the best of their produce, and washing and packaging their goods with utmost care. From the beginning to the end of the season, they work with tenacious dedication and I was inspired to follow suit while I showcased their work through my photography. Above all, it is my hope that viewers of this project will see the beauty, devotion, joy, and downright hard work that goes into organic farming and walk away as a more informed citizen of our community and world.

And now the show:

 

 

And, because I know you're dying to read it, you can find my entire 60+ page paper online here. It's fascinating...really. You'll most likely see it on the New York Times best seller list soon.

Also, all of these photos are for sale if you're interested. I currently have about a dozen left waiting for a good home. They are 11"x14" prints in a 16"x20" black frame. $35 each...shipping included.

Minnesota Food Association: August

Tired of farm pictures yet? Here are several more from MN Food Association in August. I was able to visit the farm when there was wonderful August evening light. By the way, have you checked out MFA's website yet? Because you should. You can also like them on facebook.

I've been 100% impressed with the way the MN Food Association farmers and staff run their operation. I'm so glad I was able to take pictures there this summer for my grad school project and wish them all the best as they close out the season in the coming couple of months.

Three cheers for veggies!


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This is Josh, the production coordinator. He was just finishing up a personal experiment in threshing wheat when I took this picture.
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Getting ready to harvest:
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Here's Aaron, the farm manager and marketing coordinator, talking to one of the farmers about his crops.
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Aaron's daughter Addy. Adorable!
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The next pictures come from another August visit to the farm when the staff was packing boxes for their CSA members.

Enough boxes for you?
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Amy and Proeun have Crazy Boy Farm. I enjoyed taking pictures of them throughout the summer and getting to know their four (yes FOUR!) kids a little bit. What a great family.
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Gale Woods Farm

On the same day I visited Fox and Farm Farm back in June, I was also able to stop at Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista, MN. Gale Woods is a part of the Three Rivers Park District on the western side of the Twin Cities, but also functions as a full fledged organic farm. They welcome groups of kids and visitors from the public to come and learn about farming, animals and agriculture. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how a farm of this size operates...it's a well oiled machine!

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The day I visited was the first day for people to pick up veggies. People with shares come to the farm and select the produce they want...what a cool system!
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Gale Woods also houses a wide variety of farm animals. These chickens were apparently too busy with their dinner to pose for the camera.
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Is it just me, or does this sheep look a little skeptical of my camera?
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Fox and Fawn Farm

I am finally getting around to posting some photos of my visit to Fox and Fawn Farm in New Germany, MN. I think I picked the chilliest day of the summer back in June to photograph there! If I'm remembering correctly, I was wearing about 4 layers. Brr!

Nina and Red are long time friends of mine and I always enjoy visiting their place and watching them in action. Their farm is beautiful and welcoming and full of yummy things to eat.

Thanks for letting me come and take pictures!

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Nina + garlic scapes:
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This is Henry, the official farm dog. He is puzzled by my picture taking.
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Weeding the onions:
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The day I visited was a wee bit muddy thanks to all of the rain we got in June:
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Nina and Red were preparing for their first delivery when I visited. Here's Nina labeling the boxes for people who have shares in the farm.
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Red and his scythe:
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I think this picture makes clear who is really in charge of the farm:
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Be sure to check out Fox and Farm's website by clicking here.

MN Food Association: June

Here are some more shots of MN Food Association. I was able to visit on a beautiful sunny evening a couple of weeks ago. Despite all of the rainy weather we have been having this year, things are growing well.

Little baby broccoli:
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Here's Vince again. He has been there the last few times I have visited and is clearly a very hard worker.
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I love that early evening light!
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While I was there the farmers were being trained on how to handle the veggies post harvesting. Here are some shots from the training:
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Laughing about lettuce:
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The project continues...

I took more pictures at MN Food Association awhile ago. Actually, I've been there and to a couple of other farms, but have been bad about posting lately. I'll work on that.

I enjoyed introducing myself to a couple of the farmers at MN Food Association and look forward to getting to know more as the summer continues.

As my project progresses, my hope is to be able to capture the joy that comes along with farming. Farming is truly an art form and I am learning so much from the people I am meeting.

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This is Amy and Proeun of Crazy Boy Farm. I had a chance to meet them and their 4 kiddos. What a great bunch!
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Vince is the farmer in the background of this picture. I met Vince and his parents on this trip to the farm.
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Vince's mom helping with planting:
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MN Food Association

I recently learned about a CSA in Marine on St. Croix, MN that I'm really excited about. It's called Minnesota Food Association. They're purpose is not only produce community supported organic agriculture, but also to train immigrant and minority farmers on how to create, maintain, and sustain a farm of their own. I think the entire concept of this CSA is incredible and I can't wait to continue learning about what they do.

MN Food Associaton hosted a work day a few weeks ago, so I was able to spend a little bit of time there getting to know some of the staff members and getting the lay of the land. I didn't take a ton of pictures this time, but I thought I would post a few to show the beginning of the season at MN Food Association. I'm eager to return throughout the summer!

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This mama goat was unsure about my camera around her 7 day old babies, but we became friends eventually.
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There are some beautiful flowers in the works in this greenhouse.
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Rising Sun Farm: April 2011

Remember my new adventure? I'm in the process of working on a documentary photography project for my Master's degree. I have chosen the subject of local organic farming for my topic. As this is the start a new season of farming, I have started exploring a few places to take pictures. Roger Browne from Rising Sun Farm in River Falls, Wisconsin was nice enough to let me visit his farm a few weeks ago. The day was cold (I could see my breath while taking pictures outside!), wet, and rainy, but I was still able to capture some pictures that describe the start of the season at Rising Sun. In addition to that, I learned all sorts of things about farming from Roger, who has been practicing farming for 30 or more years.

I look forward to returning to Rising Sun Farm to watch the season unfold this summer!

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This is a view inside the hoop house. It's hard to believe that some of these plants will be several feet taller than me by the end of the season!
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Uncovering the strawberries:::
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Roger has somewhere around 75 chickens. He has a mobile chicken coop that can be moved up and down the crops (along with the chickens!) to help fertilize the soil. These chickens also produce some pretty delicious eggs!
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Seeding:::
There was lots of this going on the day I was at Rising Sun.
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