Covering over 25 million acres of land, California's "factories in the fields" produce two-thirds of the nation's fruits, vegetables and nuts. As we drive along California's coastal roads, we are see their origins - the meticulously managed arrays of nascent seedlings peeking through plastic pathways along rolling hillsides bathed in fog. At tables across America, we consume the plethora of luscious berries and the diversity of fresh vegetables year around. We give little thought to the rich soil, the favorable growing climate, as well as the migrant labor, pesticides, and the scarce water resources that enable our nation’s affordable produce.
Fertile Ground pays homage to these “factories in the field”; the growing conditions, the farmers and laborers, and the ingenuity, experimentation and innovation that brings forth such abundance and beauty. Our photographic approach builds on the groundbreaking New Topographics of Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz and others who introduced the idea that anthropogenic landscapes embody both intrinsic beauty and cultural significance. More recent work by Mark Klett, Robert Dawson and their contemporaries continues to inspire this conversation about the artistic and societal lessons to be learned from the bucolic and yet hyper-functional scenes that surround us in fields of the American West.