Shooting small-scale farms around the world, 50 photographers make the case for sustainable agriculture, in a show opening in London this week
“It all came together very organically,” says Cheryl Newman, appropriately enough for a project about small-scale, low-impact farming. Initially signed up to work on We Feed The World for 12 months, she’s ended up spending three years on the project, commissioning 50 world-class photographers to shoot agriculture around the globe, including renowned image-makers such as Stefan Ruiz, Susan Meiselas, and Graciela Iturbide.
The aim of the project is simple – to shift the public perception of small-scale farming, which is often considered synonymous with subsistence farming but which in fact produces around 70% of the world’s food, according to a report by the United Nations.
“Photography is the language of our age and it has the ability to shift consciousness and effect change on a scale beyond any other form of communication,” says Newman, who was photography director of the Telegraph Magazine for more than 15 years.
“We Feed The World brings together an unprecedented number of world-renowned photographers, whose unique images will enlighten, inspire and motivate anyone who sees them.”
“You often hear people say ‘We need an industrial food system to feed the growing global population’,” says Francesca Price, the author, journalist, and broadcaster who came up with the idea for the project. “It’s not true – it’s just an argument pedalled by large corporations who have an interest, but it’s come to the point that people believe it.
“I started to wonder, how can we get across the key statistics to a mass audience and get the mainstream media to pay attention? How do we forge a new narrative about our food systems?