Top | Blog Feed
(article, Liz Crain)
Here, in part II of my three-part look at do-gooder food blogs, I'm profiling an agro-blog: I Heart Small Farms, which rises above day-to-day journaling, making social change a substantial part of its mission. Back-to-the-land blogs use a high-tech medium to focus on a low-tech topic: the joys of our agricultural heritage. p(blue). Blog: I Heart Small Farms Average posts per month: 12 Blogger: Tana Butler Age: 47 Blog place of origin: Soquel, California [[block(sidebar). h1. Liz's faves [[block(smalltext). My top posts on this blog are Photo Array, Community Outreach, and Year of the Pig. ]] ]] Tana Butler has been photographing small farms and ranches since 1999, when she began working with the much lauded farm-to-table Santa Cruz dinner group Outstanding in the Field. [%image "tana" float=right caption="Tana Butler"] In the spring of 2005, Butler decided that her continuing interest and connection with small farms should evolve and be shared. I Heart Small Farms is a frank and personal look at day-to-day farming, agricultural economics, farmers’ markets, and CSAs, mainly in the Santa Cruz area. A major draw to Butler’s site is her photography, presented in colorful quilt-like photo albums with titles such as “Glorious Farm Food” and “Farmers’ Markets.” Another standout on I Heart Small Farms is little Logan, Butler’s three-year-old grandson, who often accompanies his Nana on roll-up-the-sleeves farm trips. Why do you think small farms should be part of the blogosphere? Farms are not only beautiful, but the most important thing in the world — along with who cares for our children. I want to see them and tell their stories, because it is through these stories that we come to realize the truth of Barbara Kingsolver's words: “Whatever lofty things you might accomplish today, you will do them only because you first ate something that grew out of dirt.” [%image "garlic" float=left caption="Garlic at a farmers' market."] What type of food blogs do you find the most interesting? Good writing and/or good photography keep me coming back. I can overlook bad photography, but not bad writing. ("Bad" can mean uneducated, dull, pretentious, or unoriginal.) I avoid the mundane, I embrace the irreverent, and I really respect writers who have found their authentic voices. Good writing simply rings. A little social activism is nice, too, as long as it's not self-righteous and humorless. I love funny people who can think for themselves. I'm Mad and I Eat, MattBites, David Lebovitz, and Michael Ruhlman can be funny, and entertain as they educate. It doesn't get better than that. [%image "tomatillos" float=right caption="Ripening on the vine."] Do you ever feel like blogging is a waste of time? Not my_ blogging — I love what I get to do! I wish I had more time and resources to do justice to those who grow and prepare good, clean, honest food. The gadfly aspect of my writing is something people have to accept. I like being one of the people in the world who is stripping away the illusions that advertisers would have us swallow, literally, without question. I try to "add my light to the sum of light," and hope my work is positive. But sometimes I have to pop the bad guys. That can be fun. p(bio). Liz Crain is a writer based in Portland, Oregon.