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(2016, southwest Virginia)
by Joe Mrava and Austin Ledzian, two students at Virginia Tech.
In the middle of the 20th century, the centralization of agriculture transformed the profession of farming. Streamlined cultivation techniques saw small farms give way to corporate ones, shifting the traditional roles of women to the stereotypically conceived chores of bookkeeping and domestic tasks. Today, women account for a growing thirty percent of farm operators in the United States and an even larger percentage worldwide. Though the number of female farm operators has nearly tripled in the past three decades, the male-dominated perception of agriculture pervades.
Women Farmers of Appalachia is a photography series whose purpose is to honestly represent the lives of Appalachian women in agriculture. Through their narratives and our photographs, we weave history with the now to examine the present day female farmer, weathered in her ways, but abundant in her knowledge and stories.
We raised $2,290 for the debut of the exhibition on July 29-August 12 in 2017 at the gallery space above the Palisades Restaurant in Eggleston, VA. We decided to debut the project here because this farm-to-table restaurant sources locally grown foods, and it is geographically relevant to the women we met. To all of our supporters and friends, thank you for making this project possible!
The exhibit comprised 25 photographs: 20 27”x34” prints and 5 54”x68” prints.