|Photographs by Stan Sherer, Text by Michael E.C. Gery|
|Darryl WIlliams, Luther Belden Farm, No. Hatfield, MA|
|Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press, 1993.|
each passing year, the number of family farms in the
United States diminishes. Fewer people have the
persistence and ingenuity to wrest a livelihood from the
land in an era of corporate ownership and mass
production. Yet some family farms survive.
'I'hrough words and photographs, this book documents the long lives of five of the oldest farms in Massachusetts. Each has remained in the same family for more than two, sometimes three, centuries and each has a distinctive history. The devotion to land and family heritage is palpable in the stories these five families tell.
Sherers photographs depict the activities of family members as they go about their daily labors, planting crops, feeding animals, applying new technologies to ancient tasks, and coping with the vagaries of weather and state regulations. Gerys narrative traces how the farms began, what has sustained them through the generations, and how the families who run them today feel about their past, present, and future. These stories are told largely through the words of the people themselves.
The result is a complex portrait that moves beyond traditional stereotypes to reveal the realities of family farm life in an increasingly urbanized society.