In the comfort of the post-industrial world, especially living in urban environment, it is understandably easy to forget what an important role agriculture plays in our lives. The people whom we owe the food on our table to, live in the countryside and seldom, if ever, make the front page, so, naturally, they are rarely on our mind, yet, nevertheless, the very existence of civilization depends on their labor.
Honoring the contribution of women to the agricultural sector, Billings Farm & Museum proudly presents Vermont Female Farmers, a captivating exhibition of 45 photographs, both color and black-in-white, by the renowned photographer JuanCarlos González, featuring specifically female farmers from across the state.
From 2020 to 2022, right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the photographer traveled across Vermont, visiting and documenting 38 female farmers, shooting their livelihood and the moments of their daily routine. Inspired by the steadfastness and strong character of women in his own family, González, while working on this project, sought to highlight the often-underrepresented voices of women in agriculture, as well as convey a unique story behind each farm, immortalize the farmers’ passion, toils and triumphs.
True to the promise of the exhibition’s name, “Vermont Female Farmers,” the images capture various aspects of farming done by strong, laborious women, all on the background of diverse wild beauty of Vermont’s hills and plains. Specially for the exhibition, González has brought together the photographs and stories of individual farms in a lovely coffee-table book. The book, as well as specialty items from some of the farms featured in the project, will be featured for sale in the Billings Farm Gift Shop.
The idea of the project, focused specifically on women in agriculture, resonates deeply with the own story of the Billings Farm. All three of Frederick Billings’s daughters–Laura, Mary, and Elizabeth–made significant contributions to the legacy of the family. Ultimately, it is due to their efforts that the operation has succeeded and still carries on, and it is only fitting that these powerful portraits will reside in the Billings historic barn, adjacent to the Farm Life Exhibits, the place that used to house the herd of Billings Farm’s Jersey cows.
With the mission to inspire the future generations of farmers through sharing engaging stories of Vermont’s rural culture, Billings Farm & Museum gladly showcases farm life, both modern and that of the old times. The site’s guests are welcome to make connections to farming, as well as dive into the region’s agricultural history through various seasonal and farm events.
A list of farms and farmers featured in the Vermont Female Farmers project can be found here: www.vermontfemalefarmers.com
Autor Juan Carlos Gonzalez