The Face of Farming
Kathleen Buckalew spent parts of the past six years canvassing the state interviewing and photographing local farmers. Some of these folks still make their living off the land while others have passed on. But one fact is evident as we enjoy these portraits: The disappearing faces of Delaware farming will always be with us thanks to Buckalew’s dedication and talent.
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Hockessin, dairy farmer/ice cream maker
“Agriculture is still a viable industry in Delaware. But it depends on how the government wants to work with the farmers as to how long and how well it will last. We’ve found something that draws people in and we put out a good product. It would be nice to keep this as open land, and most folks talk about how we should be preserving our land. But they don’t take into account the value of the land, and the fact that we can’t afford to just donate this farm to keep it open. For now, we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing.”
“As a farmer, you have to know about a lot of different things. You have to learn how to fix things, how to be a mechanic, an electrician, a record-keeper. You learn to respect your land and respect your elders. Farmers know that if you don’t take care of the land, there will not be any land left to farm. So you practice conservation and whatever else you need to take care of it.
“In another 10 years, I don’t think there will be any farming in this area. Where we are planting crops, they’ll be building houses. I wish people knew where their food came from. They think they just go to Food Lion to get their food. The farmer needs a little more respect—and needs more say in what he gets for his crops. That’s about the only thing I don’t like about farming, that I don’t have a say in what I get for my products.
“When I get in a big back field, where no traffic or houses can be seen, I believe this is God’s country. It gives me a stronger connection to God.”