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The Hands That Feed Houston offers a window into the day-to-day lives of farmers and ranchers that feed Houston.
The average person might imagine an older man in overalls when they ponder what a farmer looks like. The truth is far from that: Houston’s farmers are just as diverse as the people that make up this incredible city.
This project was intended to help you connect with the people that work each day to feed you. It is their daily pride and struggle to succeed in getting food to the tables of Houstonians. Yet a spell of bad weather or a bad crop can seriously jeopardize their family’s financial stability, and many of these people don’t have affordable access to healthcare. They have it all on the line, for you, Houston.
Each farmer featured in this project decided that they were willing to open their homes and lives to a stranger to share what day-to-day life looks like for them. This remarkable act of vulnerability is clear in the images: they invited me, the photographer, and now you, into their lives in the hopes that we tread lightly and with curiosity.
Because of their great openness, I felt each farmer should speak for themselves, instead of me speaking for them. So each series of images is accompanied by quotes from the farmer. In the following images you’ll see an incredible range of lives and lifestyles. Farmers, like any human, can’t be fit into a single category or box as individuals.
Farmer participants were found through acquaintances, introductions, cold calls and emails. And, somehow each farmer was willing to let a strange, ex-farmer into their lives to stalk them for a few days.
We have represented in this project:
First generation farmers, 4th and 5th generation farmers, Refugees, Black, Latinx, and White farmers, Second-career farmers, women, men, and gender-queer farmers among just a few of the incredible types of diversity this project holds.
Please enjoy and share about your time here with #TheHandsThatFeedHouston. Let’s decide to take local to the next level, and invest deeply, emotionally and financially, in the farmers that keep us fed.
Endless thanks to the farmers and ranchers who made project possible through their incredible openness and vulnerability.
The Cade Family of R-C Ranch
Elizabeth Nyuma and family of Plant It Forward Farms
Felix Florez and family of Black Hill Meats
Lisa and Christian Seger of Blue Heron Farm
Zay Gamez of Finca Tres Robles
Scott Savage and family of Triangle Rice Farm
Alan Gaulding and family of Southeast Texas Crawfish Farm
Christine McCabe of Lone Star Olive Ranch
Jeremy Peaches of FLO Organic
It’s Time To Celebrate the Farmers that Feed Houston!
To see the rest of the images from The Hands That Feed Houston photo-documentary and learn more, visit: www.TheHandsThatFeedHouston.com
The first time in my life that I felt truly strong was when I started farming. I didn’t grow up on a farm, yet I was drawn to it after college while living in Los Angeles.
I learned to grow food so that I could feed others. This was quite meaningful to me on a basic level. I’m no longer farming today, but I couldn’t stop spending time with farmers. Now that I have a camera, I started wanting to tell their stories in a way I couldn’t when I was beside them.
Farmers seem to be either invisible or romanticized by the outside world. I wanted to share a real piece of real farming lives, to connect consumers with their farmers on a more intimate, human level.
This project was done through photo-journalism and conversations. I spent at least 3 days with each farmer, following them around through their day-to-day lives. I collected quotes to accompany each series of images to give a glimpse into each farmer’s life and personality. It’s important for you to hear their voices.
Before I began this project, I didn’t have extensive experience with photo-journalism.
Learning to tell a story through images that were captured candidly with zero posing and a couple of flashlights had its challenges. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to do this project not only because of how much I’ve learned and the lasting friendships that have been built, but also considering how much it pushed me to grow as a photographer.
I took these pictures because I love these farming spaces, communities, and individuals. I think others will love them, too. I hope my project will inspire others to get to know more about farmers and farming in our community.
Thank you to all of the people that helped me make this photo-documentary and show happen:
Houston Arts Alliance and the City of Houston for the grant that made this project possible, each of the farmers and their families, Pierre Cook, Justin Kouri, Sandra Cook, Geoff Winningham, Leslie Stackhouse, Scott Kohn, Jasmine Goldband, Ceci Norman, Megan Mcatee, Anne Houang, Lois and Shelby Scott, Brandon Stackhouse, Flatland Gallery and many many others.
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