|About the Project|
Traditions in Transition is a multi-media project that looks at family farmers and ranchers in California, and the rich rural culture based on the rhythms of planting and harvest, grazing and round-up. This traditional way of life is endangered by development pressures, the influence of the so-called "new economy," and an urban and suburban population with little connection to agriculture.
The starting point for the project is the work of two outstanding photographers. Gerald Tsuruda's Silent Harvest chronicles the plight of the family farm in the Central Valley, where small-acreage farmers struggle to continue a tradition that, in many cases, spans generations. Matt O'Brien's Back to the Ranch is a compelling study of ranching in the East Bay, home to one of America's oldest cattle-ranching communities, as it faces the increasing pressures of urban sprawl.
A series of essays, poems and stories, some commissioned for this project, others written or assembled by the photographers to accompany their individual bodies of work, illuminate the photographs and offer a variety of perspectives on farming and rural life.
The project brought the concerns of small-scale agriculture to a statewide audience through a four-part radio series, which ran on the California Report on Public Radio stations throughout California. Produced by Robin White in cooperation with KQED radio, the series includes interviews with farmers and ranchers who are facing challenges on several fronts. You can read transcripts of the programs or listen to them using QuickTime audio player.
Visit the gallery of photos from rural Yolo County, California. Community members in the towns of Winters, Woodland, and Esparto, and Davis participated in the Traditions in Transition project by sharing their photographs and stories about the pleasures and hardships of life in a farming community.
You are invited to submit photos and stories about agriculture and rural life. Simply send an email to email@example.com describing your experiences, and include one image as an attached JPEG file. (Preferred specifications: save the JPEG image with a 'quality' setting of 6. Set the resolution to 72 pixels-per-inch and make the largest dimension 300 pixels. If you need more information on how to do this, send an email with your questions.) You can also respond to an on-line survey to help us evaluate this project.
Traditions in Transition is sponsored by the California Museum of Photography at UC Riverside, the Davis Art Center, the Yolo County Library, the Woodland Public Library, Winters Friends of the Library, Esparto Friends of the Library, the Yolo County Arts Council, and the Center for Design Research at UC Davis. The project is made possible in part by a grant from the California Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, in partnership with the James Irvine Foundation.