Siblings Ricky Horton (left) and Sherily Shepard (right) are former tobacco farmers who now grow produce in Blackwater, VA. Screen grab from the short film “In Short Supply: Small Farmers and the Struggle to Deliver Health Food to Your Plate.”
This post originally appeared on Bread for the World’s blog.
I pulled the envelope out of my work mailbox, noted its thinness and thought, “A rejection from the United Nations Assocation Film Festival. Ah well.”
I didn’t open the letter for a few hours and when I did, what a surprise. “In Short Supply: Small Farmers and the Struggle to Deliver Healthy Food to Your Plate,” was accepted into the festival. It will be on the big screen in the San Francisco Bay Area sometime between October 18-28 (exact date TBD). Great news for Bread for the World and the three of us who collaborated on the film: Brad Horn, multimedia storyteller now working at the Washington Post; Molly Marsh, Bread’s former managing editor; and me.
The film illustrates some of the uncertainties small American farmers face, from unpredictable weather to changing immigration laws. Through the stories of Ricky Horton and Sherilyn Shepard, siblings who grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetables in southwestern Virginia, the short film aims to show how the American food system poses obstacles to delivering healthy foods to American homes.
You can watch the story below—and, of course, in the Bay Area this fall. Hope to see you there!
He was totally into Little Women. Then he noticed me photographing him and smiled his big smile.
I love my job. I sometimes get to travel around and ask people questions and photograph and film their lives. Basically, I have professional license to be nosy. This past week I worked in southwestern Virginia, documenting farms and farm-related activities. I learned a lot about small-holder farms and what it takes to survive in this country. These are some generic photographs from the past few days. More will eventually appear as stories on the Bread for the World website.
I threw my mom’s surprise birthday party at the beginning of May. Organizing this from afar was quite a task.
First, I had to lie to my Mom and tell her I couldn’t escape from DC for the weekend to celebrate a banner year birthday with her. In truth, I woke up early on a Saturday morning, drove down to Newport News and spent the morning of her party day picking up food from KFC, Domino’s and Mona Restaurant, a Korean restaurant that agreed to cater the bash even though they normally don’t serve such small parties. My sister and brother-in-law brought the cake and drinks.
Then, my Dad and I worked together to invite people to the party. Dad focused on church friends and I focused on Korean friends, many of whom don’t speak English. Ah, finally putting my hard-earned language skills to use for the first time in a while! I ended up leaving funny voicemails for almost everyone because no one picked up their phones. Luckily, enough people got the message and showed up.
Finally, I had to decide where to have the party. I haven’t lived in my hometown in a while and I’ve definitely never thrown a party there. I settled on the Virginia Living Museum, my niece’s favorite place to see her fishy friends Nemo and Dori (as well as furry and flying friend such as owls). Jennifer Turlington, the museum’s events coordinator, was wonderful in helping secure a party space and even coming up with the ruse for bringing my mom to the museum: why not have my Dad tell my Mom he was taking her to a flower show there? Not to knock my Dad too hard here, but I was suspicious my Mom would fall for this lie since flower shows aren’t exactly my Dad’s thing. Nevertheless, it worked. Jennifer posted a volunteer at the museum entrance. My Dad went up to the volunteer and said, “We’re here for the flower show,” which were the magic words for the volunteer to lead my parents through a side entrance, then down a path, then into a building, then down a hall into a classroom filled with all of us. Surprise!
The look on my Mom’s face was fantastic! She later said she wondered why she was being led to a “flower show” in a classroom in a building. She also said this was the best birthday she ever had.
August’s 8th birthday party in the beginning of June was a maelstrom of laughing, screaming, sugared-up kids exacerbated by a thunderstorm that led to much indoor horseplay and rowdiness. At the end, when everyone was gone and Eun and Marty were sweeping up and wiping down after their son’s celebration, they said, “See? No one ever tells you about THIS part of being a parent!” Haha! Those two crack me up.
Eun started out as my Asian American Journalists Association journalism mentor over 12 years ago. Over time we’ve become good friends to the point that I feel I’m a part of the Van Der Kim family: Eun, Marty, August and Reid (my godson). So I was thrilled to be at her 40th birthday party in mid July. The best part of the night? When Eun’s sisters-in-law appeared at the front door – they flew in from Arizona to surprise her!
Grandpa decided to put in his checker pieces upside down.
Hooray for the recently-engaged couple! Their first set of engagement pictures is here.
My niece is still learning how to catch.
Sweet vegetarian turkeys!
Black Friday at Prime Outlets in Williamsburg. My Mom wanted to be one of the first 500 people who showed up in pajamas (and waited in line – we were at the back) in order to receive a voucher for a free gift bag. So we waited from 10 pm until midnight and…..
…..we were the last two people to receive vouchers! I was number 500.
The last six people in line.
My dear friend Martina and her fiancé Ben got engaged last month! I felt incredibly honored when they asked me to take their engagement pictures. These two were game for pretty much anything during our shoot around downtown Norfolk, Va., on Sunday.
Me: “Ummm…would you mind standing a little closer to the edge of the dock? Yes….a little more….that’s better….”
Martina: “How about I pretend I’m pushing Ben into the river?”
I kid, of course. But not by much! More pictures to come soon….
This past Saturday I had the pleasure of shooting Candace and Steve’s fantastic wedding in Newport News, Va. It was the first traditional, African-American wedding I’ve ever photographed, but I don’t have any pictures of the broom-jumping ceremony. Or the laughter after the groom’s father’s speech. Or the moment the groom broke down during the vows. It’s OK, though, because I was the designated video shooter. My friend Sean Holder (whom I met on the Project Bangladesh trip) and his second shooter Brandon Cordon did the heavy lifting for still photography. I did manage to squeeze in a few frames, however, so here they are. Enjoy!
Mike Lefcheck (right), a Marine veteran from Michigan and head of the 40&8 Voiture 1153, comes to Arlington Cemetery every year to give away American flags on Memorial Day. He hoped that this year, he and his fellow 40&8 members would be able to hand out more than the 10,000 flags they passed out last Memorial Day.
Waiting for Obama to arrive for a speech at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Lucky me – I get to roll around and laugh with this cutie pie very soon. ♥