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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 landscape of subsistence farming. Streamlined cultivation techniques saw small farms give way to corporate ones, shifting the traditional rolls 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 and interview series whose purpose is to give an honest representation of the daily 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 at the Palisades Restaurant in Eggleston, VA. We decided to show first here, because this farm-to-table restaurant sources only locally grown and raised goods, and it is geographically relevant to the women we met. Once the photographs are printed we would like to show in other locations throughout Appalachia.
The exhibit comprises 25 photographs: 20 27”x34” prints and 5 54”x68” prints. The the funds raised will go towards printing to make the exhibit happen.
The photographs are available to purchase through this website.