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Farm Speak - Drought Support

A photography project has been developed to support local Mount Alexander Shire farmers, landowners, their families and neighbours who are experiencing challenges that relate to ongoing drought conditions. Photography is a meaningful tool that enables people to be involved in a social project because they are familiar with photography and are often interested in having their activities documented and recorded. Photography also lends itself to great story telling – it attracts the attention of viewers and compliments accompanying narrative where the whole story can be told.

This project was developed particularly to strengthen the links that exist within local farming communities by establishing and promoting connections between farmers and local support networks and providing access to drought assistance information and opportunities. An extensive list of resources has been collated by the Drought Assistance Project Worker, Phillippa Calwell.

Local photographer and community development facilitator, Deanna Neville, who has worked with local communities in previous photography projects, pursued local contacts between farmers and land owners and people she knew with an interest in photography. They in turn identified their own personal links with or as farmers and land owners. The result is two collections of captivating images and accompanying stories told by farmers of their unique approaches to managing through the struggle of drought.

This Land Speaks
A collection of 16 photographs taken by farmers, landowners, their friends or neighbours from Baringhup, Maldon, Walmer, Muckleford and Newstead in the Mount Alexander Shire. They tell the stories of community connections and the passion for the land, no matter what. Touring the exhibition to local venues brought farmers and land owners together to meet and share their stories with each other and the wider community. They spoke of their experiences and innovation that is life on the land. The collection is a celebration of the beauty and strength of our local landscape and farming community.

Harcourt Speaks
To follow on from the success of This Land Speaks, a second project was introduced to farmers and growers in the Harcourt apple-growing area. Affected by water restrictions, a devastating drought, freeway bypass and local tragedies, the farming community gladly took to an alternative way of looking at their situation. A group of farmers and growers took part in a photography course delivered by the project facilitator and then took to task with the aim of engaging as many of the local farming community as they could. The result was 28 willing participants who were beautifully photographed by the group and their stories told.

Booklets and Banners
Both projects were celebrated with exhibitions attended exceptionally well which were toured to neighbouring towns. Accompanying booklets of the photos and stories were created and disseminated to the farming communities to reflect on the shared experiences of their neighbours. The booklets were also utilized during ‘farm-gate’ visits by drought support workers in a resource kit. A series of large canvas banners were made of the Harcourt Speaks collection of photos and stories as requested by the project participants and is on display at various community festivals, events and in the local community. The banners and booklets can be viewed below.

Click this logo to download
'This Land Speaks - Mount Alexander Shire'
project document in pdf format.
3.2MB beware dial-up users!
Click this logo to download
'This Land Speaks - Mount Alexander Shire'
project document in pdf format.
3.2MB beware dial-up users!
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