“Rural Harvest” Opens In Coastal Belfast on Wednesday, April 4th at 4:30 pm With Appearances by Photographer Lottie Hedley And Wood Prairie’s Gerritsen Family.
BELFAST, MAINE – April 2, 2012 – Photographer Lottie Hedley believes that beauty, inspiration, conflict, determination, and intrigue all exist in our own backyards and deserve our attention. Her drive is to tell local stories which are often overlooked because of their proximity.
“Rural Harvest” is a series of stark and gripping black and white photographs, full of contrast and mood.
They document the life and work of the Gerritsen family: Jim and Megan and their four children, Peter, Caleb, Sarah and Amy. The Gerritsens grow organic potatoes and other crops for seed on Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater, Maine.
“The work is about stewardship and the vulnerability of family farming,” says Hedley. “In making the work, I was very lucky to spend time with Jim and Megan Gerritsen and their lovely and very hard working family in Aroostook County. This work is the beginning of what will be an ongoing series looking at the institution of the family farm: the vulnerability of the family farm, the next generation of farmers, the disappearance of the multi-generational farms, and new initiatives to keep family farming alive.”
The Aroostook County town of Bridgewater has felt the disappearance of family farming. Two or three generations ago the town was home to scores of potato farms. Thirty-five years ago the town was down to thirty farms and now there only six potato farmers left in Bridgewater.
“The last fifty years have proved family scale organic agriculture is a sound production system and superior in terms of seed and food quality, farm viability and impact on our soils and communities” said Wood Prairie farmer Jim Gerritsen. “The question yet to be answered, in the face of threats such as GMO contamination and rising land prices, is will family farmers be allowed to carry on their family’s farming legacy into the future? Committed artists like Lottie whose work advocates for the survival of family farmers tilts the balance in the right direction.”
Hedley’s photographs will be accompanied by several poems written by Maine poet, Bob MacLaughlin, specifically for this show. The photographer and poet, as well as the Gerritsen family, will be present at the exhibit’s opening reception on Wednesday, April 4th, from 4:30 to 7:00 pm. The reception will include a reading by the poet. “Rural Harvest” will be on view until May 30.
About Lottie Hedley (http://lottiehedleyphotography.com/rural-harvest)
Lottie Hedley attended the Maine Media College in Rockport, Maine where she completed the year-long certificate program and was awarded the Paul Caponigro Scholarship.
During her time at the Maine Media College, she focused on issues related to the vulnerability of the family farm, allowing her to pull on the muddy boots of her childhood growing up on a dairy farm in Wairarapa, New Zealand.
Following graduation from the Maine Media College, Hedley spent the summer of 2011 at the Maine Media Workshops as a teaching assistant for photographers and reporters, including Sam Abell, Sue Bloom, Nancy Donaldson, Ron Haviv, Sarah Kramer, Bob Krist and David H. Wells. Hedley was selected as one of a hundred students who attended the 24th Eddie Adams Workshop in upstate New York during the fall of 2011. That same year, she was also selected to attend the portfolio review at Atlanta Celebrates Photography. In addition to photographing editorial assignments for Down East Magazine, Savannah Magazine and Skirt, Hedley also shoots commercially and as a still photographer on film sets. She may be reached at [email protected]
About Maine’s Wood Prairie Farm (www.woodprairie.com; 800-829-9765)
Wood Prairie Farm is located in Aroostook County, Northern Maine’s historic center of potato farming. For over 35 years, Jim & Megan Gerritsen and their family have been farming organically and grow the finest potatoes, seed and vegetables. Wood Prairie Farm’s organic seed potatoes, kitchen potatoes, vegetable and cover crop seeds and other products are available direct to the customer by mail order from its website and catalog.
Wood Prairie Farm is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/woodprairiefarm.
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