New Farmers 2014/2018
Book and Cover
Title: New Farmers 2014/2018
Author/Editor: D. Bryon Darby, Tim Hossler, Paul V. Stock
Publisher: P&T Committee
Design Firm: Tim Hossler Design
Creative Director: Tim Hossler
Photographer: D. Bryon Darby
These images of 'New Farmers' turn our attention away from the feel-good rhetoric of local food and toward the people investing their lives in sustainable agriculture. Farmers are not just going away. They are new and innovative and persistent. By “new,” we mean new to sustainable agriculture—for some that’s organic, others more than organic, others are less dogmatic. But new does not mean beginning, so you’ll see new farmers who turned to farming or market gardening thirty or so years ago in pursuit of self-sufficiency. Others are so new as to not yet have land to call their own.
'New Farmers 2014/2018' draws inspiration from the collaborative works on rural life of Margaret Bourke-White’s and Erskine Caldwell’s 'You Have Seen Their Faces' (1937), Dorothea Lange’s and Paul Taylor’s 'American Exodus' (1939), and James Agee’s and Walker Evans’ 'Let Us Now Praise Famous Men' (1941). These collaborators combined photography, geographic place, and wider economic contexts to tell stories of heartbreak, loss, and resilience during the Great Depression. In order to learn for ourselves and share some of the experiences of new and beginning farmers, we offer this project as an exploration of experiments in contemporary farming.
'New Farmers 2014/2018' serves as a documentation of fieldwork conducted between 2014–2018. It was published to accompany two comprehensive exhibitions of the project presented Fall 2018 through early 2019 at the Wichita Art Museum and at the Great Plains Art Museum, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
There is something unabashedly honest and utilitarian about this spare but well handled typographic and photographic magazine about new farmers in Kansas. It is at once serious and fresh: red type with slab serifs accent black and white images and occasional call outs—all feels just right for a publication that deals with the stories of people who are about as far from the offices of AIGA as you can get. Food production is a serious concern, and as such, the magazine feels prescient, visually compelling, and appropriately restrained. — Lucinda Hitchcock
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