Stewards of the Land (US) by Anna Mia Davidson
Despite the popular, often negative, representations of food consumption in the United States, the organic food industry has actually been growing at a rate of 25% per year since 2000. A proportionate increase in land farmed under certified organic management has been seen during the same period.
Sustainable farming in Washington State, in the United State’s Pacific Northwest, developed from those experimenting with alternative lifestyles in the 1970’s. A core group of people committed to growing food in a sustainable way and using organic methods grew quickly into a movement and by the mid 1980’s, farmers across the Washington State had collaborated to determine organic standards.
Today Washington State has nearly 800 certified organic farms with a dedicated team of inspectors who regulate organic standards. Organic acreage has increased eightfold in twenty years and the organic food industry is valued at over US $200 million per year in Washington State. Organic farms create sustainable employment and have positive repercussions for rural communities. The Washington State model has been replicated throughout the United States.
Anna Mia Davidson’s Stewards Of The Land documents both the farms and people who have been responsible for this resurgence in sustainable farming. The aspiration of those who have spearheaded this movement is to create a positive model for farming which works in harmony with the land, rather than exploiting it.
Anna’s painterly portraits capture quiet, simple moments while bearing witness to the positive changes enabled by this movement. Anna believes that agriculture is a common link shared between every nation on earth and a bond that marks our similarities. Despite cultural, educational, and familial differences, the farmers documented in this photo essay have a common thread that unites them with a movement extending far beyond their corner of the United States.