WHY THIS? WHY NOW?

Growing Right is a project motivated by urgencies. In 2017, debate about climate change and the impact of agricultural and food systems practices on personal health, community health and wider ecologies and environments is as heated as ever. Moreover, debates about climate change and the environmental impact of food products — from glyphosates to GMO crops — often hinge on battles over expertise: corporations, government agencies, and everyday citizens all have something to say. However, mainstream media channels don’t often give us the chance to hear what everyday people think on these matters.

Rooted in principles of public folklore documentation — which privileges the voice and expertise of vernacular voices — Growing Right aims to amplify and circulate the voices of Ohioans involved in our state’s long-standing ecological food and farm movement: where farming meets concern about health and the environment.

We hope to share these stories to deepen understanding and dispel legends about “organic farming,” environmentalism and the food system in our state. So much rhetoric circulates on what it means to shop or eat organic — is it better for you? Is it more expensive? What if it comes from far away? Will pesticides really kill you? We hope to engage these questions and considerations by listening deeply to the stories of Ohioans who have given their lives and vocations to the work of ecological agriculture.

 As you’ll quickly see from listening to our interviews, Growing Right doesn’t preach one particular thing. Ohioans come to ecological farming from so many backgrounds and walks of life. The “long-form” of oral history lets us get to that, and explore our differences; but also to see what drives a movement so committed to drawing the connection between how we grow our food and our own personal and wider ecological health.

We believe there’s never been a more important time to have these conversations. And we believe that listening in on the ecological farm movement’s history — how this all got started — is an important way to reflect deeply and take action for our interlinked food, farm and environmental futures today.

We’re excited to have you join the conversation!