‘Saving the Soil’ book release set for September 22

  • Written by Valley View Staff

"Saving the Soil" is the latest production of Pacific NW photographer/writer, Jerry Mader. Since April, 2009, Mader has been documenting the activities of nine organic farms in the Snoqualmie Valley. The result is a photography/audio installation and book to be presented at Carnation Tree Farm in the historic Hjertoos Barn loft, September 22, 2011 at 7 pm. The public is invited to meet Jerry Mader and the farmers and share in the celebration.

The installation contains over two dozen 2" X 4" photo collages (300 plus images) presenting a kaleidoscope of each of the nine farms covered in the project: Jubilee Biodynamic Farm, Changing Seasons Farm, Local Roots Farm, Two Sisters Dairy, Game Haven Farm, Growing Things Farm, Oxbow Center, Blue Dog Farm and The Root Connection. The photo collages are arranged in a "virtual" tour of each farm’s placement in the Valley. Mader, a classically trained musician and composer, prepared a 30 minute "sound scape" for the installation which runs continuously during the exhibition.

In addition to the photo documentary, Mader interviewed each of the farmers, 16 in all, plus eight of their workers and nine individuals from the wider King County community who are involved in agriculture, food production and distribution. Mader assembled all the interviews plus his commentary and research into a new book "Saving the Soil—the New American Farmer," published by his company, Tolt River Press. The book will be formally released at the exhibition with copies available for sale.

The interviews are in the form of oral histories to be archived in historical society collections throughout King County. "These new farmers are at the threshold of an agricultural renaissance here in the valley and the U.S. generally," Mader said. "Their stories have enormous historical value, especially since they have in large part revived the agricultural tradition which was the foundation of Snoqualmie Valley history."

King County 4Culture Heritage Special Projects provided a grant to assist Mader in the transcription and archival preparation of the photographs and oral histories for the project as well as preparation of materials for the exhibit/installation. The show will be offered to all appropriate venues in Washington state and the Pacific Northwest.

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