Vibrant. Familiar. Inspiring. Bright. Enticing. All were words whispered during conversations of on-lookers in the gallery space and over local snacks during the opening reception for Crooked Tree Arts Center’s (CTAC) photography exhibit. Easily, these words could also be descriptions of the re-emerging local foods scene in northern Michigan.
“From Farm to Frame: Ripe Moments Through the Lens” was the result of the combined desires of three area organizations—the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation (PHSACF), ISLAND, and CTAC—to get people supporting fresh food and family farms in Emmet and Charlevoix counties. With increasing support for year-round farmers markets and the growing need to keep dollars circulating within a smaller radius, the photography exhibit fits right into a bigger movement centered on honoring food produced closer to home.
“The spirit of this event is to raise awareness of the contributions of small farms to our community and economy and the many benefits of having access to more locally-grown food in our immediate area. [We can] use photography to raise awareness about the small farms and local foods around us—both by those looking through the lens themselves and by the rest of us who are able to share their vision,” explains Scott Smith of the PHSACF, and of Petoskey’s newly formed Local Food Alliance. Presenting the project as a photo contest cast a wider net to allow for a broader audience of artists.
“We were thrilled to have such a strong turn out from students,” states Jen Schaap, the project coordinator at ISLAND. In order to encourage younger members of the community to participate, entries were solicited, and prizes were awarded, in two age categories, one of which was limited to photographers under 18.
Photographs were submitted over the course of the summer, and a jury of three whittled the entries down to just over 40 prints to hang in the Crooked Tree Arts Center. From there, finalists were chosen from each of the three categories, and awards from area businesses and farms were presented at the opening reception in October.
The pictures in the exhibit capture how food is produced, where it is sold, and the way it is presented when prepared, through three categories: From the Farm, From the Market, and From the Table. Walking through the gallery you might see a romantic landscape of quiet farmland, a crisp bunch of radishes against a backdrop of green, or a close-up of artisan bread smothered in homemade jam, created in the photographer’s own kitchen. A simple shape, framed on the base of an apple in Farmer’s Apple, demonstrates that food can be a powerful connection to our everyday experiences. Katelyn Capelin, of East Jordan, writes about how the photograph conjured up childhood memories of her mother, cutting the apples so as to display the star shaped seeds for her daughter’s lunch.
Our grandparents might tell a story of how this area was once rich in agriculture and steeped in simple foods. The time might be ripe for a return to a system, not unlike theirs, to distribute and eat real, fresh food. Michigan is second only to California in producing a diverse list of crops. Charles O’Neill explains the scene for his award winning Cows in Fog, “This morning was crisp and bright and full of promise,” as is the hope that the local food and farm movement in northwest lower Michigan will continue with such strength and support.
“From Farm to Frame: Ripe Moments Through the Lens” is open through Thanksgiving weekend at the Crooked Tree Arts Center. 231-347-4337
Hours: Mon – Fri 9am-5pm. Wednesdays, open at 10 am. Saturdays 10am-4pm
Holiday Hours: Wednesday, November 21: Open from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22: CLOSED
Friday, November 23: CLOSED
Saturday, November 24: Open from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Local Food and Farm Week in October 2012
Petoskey News Review - May 8
MLUI, Call for Artists
Michigan Soap Box - WCMU Public Radio
Sara’s interview on local food
PNR - Aug 3
PNR - Sept 12
My North - Events - Reception
My North - Events - Exhibit
Harbor Light Newspaper - Oct 31
The Graphic Weekly - Nov 1