Island Farmers’ Alliance – Inspiring Future Farmers Through Photography & Story
The Island Farmers’ Alliance (IFA), the organization behind the “Fresh from the Island” slogan and the rooster logo that is ubiquitous with Island agriculture, is proud to announce the results of their most recent endeavour, Of Land & Sea: Portraits of Coastal BC Farmers, Fishers, and Harvesters. A partnership between the IFA and Ken Miner, a Victoria based tintypist and photographic artist, the project has captured images and stories of senior food producers from the Vancouver Island and Gulf Island communities. Using Ken’s 113-year-old 8”x10” view camera, the hand-made images were developed on glass plates and, while they portray contemporaries, they evoke a timelessness not always found with modern photographic technologies.
The project team has spent the past year connecting with food harvesters, fishers, and farmers. Ken, who created the images, met each producer, usually over tea, to hear stories about their lives and experiences in producing food. The resulting photographs and stories will be shared in an upcoming book publication and two gallery exhibits in the South and Central regions of Vancouver Island.
For those who participated in the project, each was asked to share their thoughts and experiences in mentoring future food producers. Hopeful for the future of the industry, we found that most were engaged in nurturing the next generation responsible for our food. From creating positions for WOOFERs, hosting apprenticeships or mentorship opportunities, to running public workshops, the value in transferring knowledge between generations was expressed throughout this project.
When asked to share their advice for future producers, their answers reflected five themes:
- Participate in an apprenticeship or mentorship program and learn from experienced producers. It is the best way to learn from the mistakes and successes of others;
- Engage with a community of producers. Share ideas and cooperate;
- Develop a business plan;
- Find your niche but don’t be afraid to diversity (without overdoing it!); and
- The challenges are real and difficult, but food production is the best lifestyle.
The book, which will feature the twenty-one images and stories, will be available for retail at the gallery exhibits, the Cowichan Green Community’s store (360 Duncan Street, Duncan, BC), and online. Check- out the IFA’s website for details on the forthcoming publication.
To see the original glass images, we invite you to attend one or both of the upcoming art shows:
Gallery: PORTALS, the CVAC Centre of Arts, Culture and Heritage
Location: 2687 James Street, Duncan (inside the Island Savings Centre)
Dates: Tuesday, February 16, 2016 – Saturday, March 5, 2016
Hours: Monday-Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturdays from 10am-1pm
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 18, 2016 from 7pm-8:30pm, door at 6:30pm
Gallery: Coast Collective Art Gallery and Artisan Gift Shop
Location: #103-318 Wale Road, Colwood, BC
Dates: Wednesday, March 9, 2016 to Sunday, March 20, 2016
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 12pm-5pm
Opening Reception: Friday, March 11, 2016 from 7:30pm-9:30pm
For more information on the work of Ken Miner, please visit: http://www.zuludog.ca/
Funded by the Government of Canada: New Horizons for Seniors Program.
Ken Miner is a project photographer that utilizes film, chemistry, and analog cameras to create images of people and places on Vancouver Island and beyond.
Vanessa Goodall shares her passion for local food through her positions at the Cowichan Green Community and Island Farmers’ Alliance.