“All of this fascinates me so much, you know?” said a new farmer as we were walking on their new land. “Farming is a buzz.” A buzz that gives farmers’ lives meaning, so argues sociologist Michael Bell. And that meaning comes from more than just the places or crops they farm, but connects to the wider times and social networks involved. Today, we remain distanced (not just physically) from where our food comes from. While many parts of the country enjoy better access to “good” food we continue to stereotype farmers and their lives. Agrarian Wendell Berry writes, “The image of the farmer as the salt of the earth, independent son of the soil, and child of nature is a sort of lantern slide projected over the image of the farmer as simpleton, hick, or redneck. Both images serve to obliterate any concept of farming as an ancient, useful, honorable vocation, requiring admirable intelligence and skill, a complex local culture, great patience and endurance, and moral responsibilities of the gravest kind.”
New Farmers is a collaborative research project between photographer D. Bryon Darby, designer Tim Hossler, and sociologist Paul Stock. An observation of today's independent farmer, the project is an ongoing exploration of experiments in contemporary farming.
New Farmers was generously supported with a Starter Grant from The Commons with funds from the University of Kansas Office of Research and by a Collaborative Research Seed Grant from the Hall Center for The Humanities.
Participating farms include: Amy's Meats at the Homestead, Bauman's Cedar Valley Farm, Buller Family Farm, Hard Fifty Farm, Hoyland Farm, Mellowfields Urban Farm, Pinwheel Farm, Sacred Sun Cooperative Farm, and Sweet Love Farm.