I'm Rick Smith, a documentary photographer native to Northampton County, Pennsylvania. Over the past 10 years I have been photographing the heritage of the small family farms throughout Northampton County and studying the effects that a rapidly increasing population has on the agricultural community.
My passion with documenting the local farming community started back in 2003 when the economy was booming and development throughout the area was at an all time high. I wanted to start investigating the impact this new development would have on preexisting communities which were growing at a rapid pace. I started hanging out on the farms slowly working my way into their worlds. I became fascinated with their storied past, some of which can be traced back 12 generations of the very same land they still farm today.
Unfortunately, due to an increasing population and our close proximity to major cities like New York City and Philadelphia, land is becoming more valuable. As a result the small family farms are slowly being pinched out making way for new development and higher traffic throughout our back country roads.
In April of 2014, Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society's Sigal Museum located in downtown Easton, PA will host a major 6 month long exhibition featuring the photographs from this collection of work entitled Heart And Soil : Northampton County Farms and Farmers. This exhibit will give the farming community a unique opportunity to tell their stories through a series of portraits and landscapes. The community will have the opportunity to participate in planned agricultural education programs, community events and artist talks throughout the 6 month period.
Today, as the economy rebuilds, growth throughout the Lehigh Valley continues to increase as well. According to the official Northampton County website by the year 2030 the Lehigh Valley is expected to increase by 145,000 people with an additional 72,000 new households. Promoting redevelopment in existing cities and neighborhoods is key to helping save the vast farmland we have all grown to love.
With your help we can all make a difference by supporting our local farms and farmers. Your kind donations will be put toward the expenses it takes to bring this exhibit to the public eye.
If you can not donate but want to help please spread the word about this campaign to all of your friends, family and co- workers. Be sure to follow the progress leading up to the big exhibit on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ProjectHeartAndSoil or our website www.ProjectHeartAndSoil.com.
Rick Smith/ Photographer
What I Need & What You Get
I am looking to raise a minimum of $4,500 to help contribute towards the production costs of putting together an exhibition of this size. Expenses will include but are not limited to the final exhibition museum quality prints, archival print mounting and print framing. Any left over money will be put toward marketing and promotions.
Please take a look at the perks I put together for contributing to this project. All perks will be sent out 1 month after the opening exhibit date yet to be determined in April 2014.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Imagine the impact that a 2,000 sqare foot space filled with large photographs of farming's past, present, and future will have on our community. The largest documentation of Northampton County's farmers and farm families in recent history all gathered in one room to enjoy. I have always believed in the power of photography and using it in ways to help better the world around me.
How can this exhibit better the world around us? It will better inform and educate the public about the growing concerns in local farming. Provide information as to why it is important to keep supporting our local farms. Put a face to a heritage that is losing ground while helping to promote the legacy of small family farms.
Without farms there would be no food! Local farmers are losing land, being forced to downsize, or getting out all together. These issues need to be addressed and recognized before it is to late. This exhibit will do just that.
My promise to my friends in farming who have let me into their private worlds over these past 10 years was simply that I will do my best to tell their stories and help keep their family legacies alive. They trust me - I refuse to let them down.
Help me make an impact with this exhibit and supporting the local farm community by keeping these legacies alive.
Let your voice be heard too. Contribute today!
We understand that not everyone can contribute financially but still might believe in the cause. You most powerful gift could be as simple as sharing this to everyone you know.
Spread the word.
You can use the simple share tools just under the video to make it a quick and easy process, by email, tweet and many other options.
And of course I will keep you updated on the progress of the project here on this website, by email, Facebook and on my blog.
Thank you so much for your interest in this project and I do hope that, like me, you can see why this is a body of work that needs to be brought to the public eye.
More informtion about my professional work can be viewed on my website at www.ricksmithphoto.com
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