Farmers + selfies = "felfies"
Found at #felfie. Left to right from top: @PureHolsteins, @FleyasHolsteins, @PVickerton, @AmandaOwen8, @matt_raven.
Almost a year ago, I had an idea to encourage New York's farmers to send in photos to The Dirt, to tell the story of agriculture one picture at a time. It was a good idea, and we get some great photos, but I didn't follow up very well. And I used the clunky name, "Dirt Pics". Ho hum.
Well, the Irish Farmers Journal nailed it, with the help of the sorcery of the internet. Last Christmas, the publication held a contest for the best farmer selfies. They're all great. Somewhere along the way, someone took the Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year for 2013 and applied it to farmers.
The hashtag #felfie was born, and it's gone viral.
David Sommerstein, with mate cup. It ain't a #felfie, but at least it's a selfie.
A woman in Lancashire, England started up the twitter handle @felfie_ , and she's been spreading the #felfie seed. She describes herself as a lambing shepherdess with a small hobby flock of her own. She told me via e-mail that she wants to remain anonymous because she wants the focus of the story to stay on those farmer faces – illuminating the people who make our food:
It matter to me that farmers are credited, for the work they do the world over, all consumers think of the meat on their plate as being the product of a farm, but not many think of all the variations, the corn grower, the cotton grower, the person who makes the tractor etc, so I wanted all these people to be proud of what they do and to show the world.
Wisconsin dairy farmer Carrie Mess wrote in The Guardian that Felfies have also tapped into the isolation many farmers can feel:
The felfie isn't just a product of having smart phones, it's also a product of having an all consuming job where you are mostly working alone. Snapping a photo of yourself doing something interesting to share with the world creates a fun and helpful circle for farmers to share what they love doing with others who are passionate about food and the environment. Don't get me wrong, I love my cows – they are part of my family – but it's good to have some interaction with folks with opposable thumbs, too.
@felfie_ is collecting all the Felfies that people around the world tweet and instagram here. And someone started a website of Felfies, too.
So to circle back, how about you New York farmers take a picture of yourself, and post it to twitter or instagram with two hashtags: #felfie & #nyfelfie. I'll gather the ones I find and post them on The Dirt. Or you can just email them to me at david-at-ncpr-dot-org.
Tags: agriculture, farming, photography, rural life