“The Art of Farming” features fine art photographs by photographer and Madison College student Callie Strouf that expose the heart of family farming in Wisconsin. [Framed images may be purchased for $175 each. Please contact Strouf for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Strouf’s photographs highlight four small, family-owned community supported agriculture farms: Blue Moon Community Farm in Stoughton, Vermont Valley Community Farm LLC in Blue Mounds, Dreamfarm LLC in Cross Plains, and Scotch Hill Farm in Broadhead.
“I focused on capturing a variety of farming details, a lot of texture, and things that may otherwise go unnoticed,” Strouf said. “I want the viewer to connect with the imagery and have the sense that they can really feel the vegetables and the dirt. This gallery has more of a fine art feel and involved subjects that most will recognize but hopefully experience in a new and different way.”
Strouf, 29, began her career in social work but went back to school for photography in fall 2011. She first heard about CSA, or community supported agriculture, while taking an undergraduate class in rural sociology.
“I thought, community supported agriculture? What’s that? I wanted to learn more,” Strouf recalled.
CSA members make a commitment to a farm early in the season by purchasing a share of that farm’s products in advance. In return, members get a box of food each week throughout the growing season, and can participate in on-farm events, work days, potlucks and u-pick gardens.
“CSA is a partnership that keeps independent businesses thriving, helps families eat seasonal, local produce, and charges farmers and consumers with the responsibility of building a strong, equitable, local food system,” said Kiera Mulvey, FairShare’s executive director.
“We’re thrilled to showcase Callie’s breathtaking work,” Mulvey added. “Her photos truly embody the life, vitality, and individuality of our community farms and give us a much needed glimpse into our upcoming farm season.”
Strouf has been a member of Blue Moon Community Farm since 2010. Once she began her photography courses, it was a natural fit to explore the farm with her camera.
“Kristen [the farmer] has been terrific,” Strouf said. “She was very opening and welcoming to my frequent presence on her farm. She was patient and supportive in answering my questions.”
Strouf said she received a warm reception at all the farms.
“It has been an amazing experience to visit these farms,” she said. “I’ve met some truly wonderful people, and witnessed the complex process of local food production. We are realty lucky to be in a place where there is a variety of accessible and locally produced delicious food.”
Strouf took first place in the Yahara Journal Art Contest last fall for her goat image (above) taken at Dreamfarm, which will be included in the exhibit. With her instructors encouraging Strouf to display her work in a public arena, Strouf said she hopes to raise awareness about the work happening on small family farms and to educate her community on CSA.
The exhibit’s opening reception is 6-9 p.m. Friday, March 8. Entertainment includes music by the Stompin’ Radishes at 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. Sales of Strouf’s photographs will benefit the work of FairShare CSA Coalition.
“The Art of Farming” is running in conjunction with the 21st annual CSA Open House featuring more than 35 CSA farmers who deliver to the Madison area. The public can meet the farmers and take free workshops from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, March 10 at Monona Terrace, 1 John Nolen Dr.
Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, please email to email@example.com or call (608) 226-0300.