Six months ago yesterday was the first day of a major life change for me. I left the comfort of my corporate job at a large agri-business in search of more time with my kids and the freedom to start my own adventure. Ok, so maybe I did things a little backwards (well backwards to a Type A, planner like myself). I jumped first, hoping I would find what I was looking for in the waters below. One thing I did know is that I would continue with my photography. I have had a life-long obsession with photographic images. I love the magic that can be captured in one simple image. Fast forward to the middle of the night sometime in mid-March. I was laying awake thinking about how blessed I am in life. I was able to make a change to spend more time with the ones I love, doing the things that I love. My love ones and I are in good health. We have a warm home, filled with love. We are surrounded by friends and family. I have an amazingly supportive husband and two crazy, but awesome, little kids. As I thought about all that I had I also thought about what I could do to give back to others. The idea hit me like a bullet right then and there. I needed to start photographing women in agriculture. An article in the Des Moines Register a few days earlier was resonating through my thoughts. Women always have been involved in agriculture and are becoming involved at a faster rate than ever before. These women play all sorts of roles in our agriculture system, and are all important. However, in any farm imagery you almost always see the farmer portrayed as a male. I decided it was time to take my ability to photograph and use it to document the women in this field. The next night the name of my new "project" hit me just like the idea had. I would call it FarmHer, playing off the word farmer and her. I put my idea out there to a few people, one of whom put me in contact with the Women, Food and Agriculture Network and that is when the wheels really started to go. The group was kind enough to notify their members about my project and the response I received back was overwhelming. So many women were either interested in being a part of my project, or just interested in following the progress. Through our (cold) late spring and early summer I have had the opportunity to meet and document seven amazing women as they work their part in our agriculture system. Women from all walks of life, making a living for themselves and their families, and providing food, fiber, fuel, etc. to their communities.
I am so excited to continue this project not just in the near future, but for the long term. I hope to continue to build my collection of images and eventually use them to change the way we view agriculture. I hope to make images of women in agriculture part of the standard farm imagery in our world.
If you agree and support what I am doing in any way, I would ask that you share this with your friends, family, colleagues, neighbors and communities. Please "like" FarmHer on Facebook. Please "share" the images I post with your friends. Please help me spread the images of these women in agriculture.
Below are a few photographs of the cold, wet and just plain dreary day on which I couldn't have been more thrilled to kick off this new adventure. My first trip was a visit to Denise O'Brien, a long time leader and advocate for women in agriculture. I was lucky enough to spend the day talking with Denise about my new project and also documenting some of her work.