“Vermont Female Farmers”
“Vermont Female Farmers” is a photography series that features female farmers from across the state of Vermont and captures their activities as they tend to their crops and livestock. Undertaken to both celebrate female farmers and bring awareness to the gender disparity in the farming industry, “Vermont Female Farmers” will be featured as an exhibit in Woodstock, Vermont.
Total Project Budget
Name of Applicant / Organization / Business
958 Hale Hollow Rd, Bridgewater Corners, VT 05035
Name of Project Coordinator
Contact's Email Address
Vermont Female Farmers
Organization's Website URL
Applicatant / Organizational Description
Photographer JuanCarlos Gonzalez is based in Woodstock, Vermont and was raised in Maunabo, Puerto Rico. He grew up eager to explore the world, but did not have the resources to do so. Pictures in magazines and in the Sunday paper inspired him with a sense of beauty, wonder, and curiosity. Over the years, he’s been fortunate enough to travel extensively and to photograph some of the most beautiful and striking places on earth. “Vermont Female Farmers” is an exciting new addition to his body of work, the photography series standing as both a celebration of the strength of female farmers and an examination of gender disparities in the farming industry.
In addition to “Vermont Female Farmers”, JuanCarlos’s photography projects include photojournalism, storytelling, events, portraits, and landscapes, all of which are available on his website. He has to thank the kindness and generosity of the people who have supported him along the way for helping create these memories.
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Detailed Project Description
“Vermont Female Farmers” is a photography series that features female farmers from across the state of Vermont and captures their activities as they tend to their crops and livestock. This series began in December 2021 with photographer JuanCarlos Gonzalez capturing images of the off-season activities of Vermont’s female farmers, and will conclude in Winter 2022 so as to document the full range of responsibilities that Vermont’s female farmers shoulder throughout the year, from seed to harvest.
While the primary goal of “Vermont Female Farmers” is to capture, recognize, and celebrate the work of the female farmers of Vermont, this photography series also aims to highlight the gender disparity seen within the farming industry. Less than half of farmers in Vermont are female (Census of Agriculture, 2017), and “their general characteristics and practices pursued have not received as much consideration [as male farmers] by agricultural economists” (Food Policy, 2021). “Vermont Female Farmers” strives to bring awareness to this lack of consideration and highlight the contributions of female farmers to the agricultural industry of Vermont.
In addition to his artistic goals, Gonzalez also aims to support tourism in and engage the local economy of Woodstock, Vermont by exhibiting “Vermont Female Farmers” in town, bringing business to Woodstock in the form of tourism and the utilization of local Woodstock printers, framers, galleries, et cetera.
Finally, Gonzalez has set a goal of making the “Vermont Female Farmers” exhibit ecologically sound and environmentally low-impact. He will do so by making a commitment to prioritizing local labor and spaces. By supporting existing local businesses, Gonzalez will ensure that the presentation of “Vermont Female Farmers” is on par with the ecological and environmentally low-impact practices of other Woodstock businesses.
As a project, “Vermont Female Farmers” has already begun. In addition to undertaking the photography for the exhibit, JuanCarlos Gonzalez has already begun to pitch this project to a number of galleries and universities in Vermont, including the University of Vermont’s Women’s Agricultural Network.
Photography for the project will be wrapped in Winter 2022, and Gonzalez plans to exhibit “Vermont Female Farmers” in two stages. The first stage will be exhibited in Woodstock, Vermont in Fall 2022, and will feature the Winter 2021 off-season as well as the Spring 2022 and Summer 2022 growing season. The second stage will be exhibited in Woodstock, Vermont in late 2022/early 2023, and will feature the Fall 2022 harvest season and the Winter 2022 off-season, bringing the project full-circle.
The timing of this two-part exhibit coincides with the peak of Woodstock’s tourist season; as such, the town will already be primed to accommodate any additional tourism caused by the exhibit. The cost of this exhibit will depend on the cost of the gallery space and the funding that this project receives; ideally, the exhibit will be free to the public.
Gonzalez has also reached out to galleries outside of Vermont, including the Lecia Camera Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts. The ultimate goal of these efforts is to exhibit “Vermont Female Farmers'' throughout Vermont and possibly throughout greater New England. A coffee table book presenting the photography series would also be a possibility; Gonzalez would make it a priority to stock the coffee table book at local Woodstock bookstores and businesses, supporting the local economy and giving community members and tourists alike the ability to learn more about Vermont’s female farmers.
In order to market the exhibit, Gonzalez will utilize his professional connections. These connections are many and varied: his photography has been featured by a variety of publications, including Vogue Italia, the Boston Globe, National Geographic, and the Vermont State Parks. He is also the founder of JC Consulting, LLC and is the Arts Program Director at Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA).
A great example of Gonzalez’s past work and ability to draw an audience includes his direction of IBA’s 2020 and 2021 Festival Betances celebrations. As New England’s longest running Latinx cultural celebration, Festival Betances is an annual event in Boston’s music scene and a staple in New England’s Latinx community. Under Gonzalez’s direction, IBA’s Festival Betances – which was presented virtually in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic – featured performances by Los Pleneros de Severo and Andres “El Jibaro” Jimenez in 2020, as well as by Yuba Iré and Oscarito in 2021. These events were wildly successful: the 2020 festival received over 50,000 views on Facebook in less than a week, and the 2021 festival had 4,500 audience members tune in live for the performances. These accomplishments are particularly impressive given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and speak to Gonzalez’s ability to cultivate and excite an audience.
In addition to utilizing the connections that he has made through previous photo features and previous projects, Gonzalez will work with the farmers featured in “Vermont Female Farmers” to spread the word regarding the project and the exhibit in Woodstock, Vermont.
Gonzalez will also utilize social media to market the project and exhibit, sharing news about “Vermont Female Farmers” with his 17.2k Instagram followers and nearly 500 Facebook followers.
The champion of this project is JuanCarlos Gonzalez himself, a Woodstock resident who has a deep connection to and respect for the female farming community. His childhood was spent surrounded by strong women – his mother was one of eleven children – and both of his grandmothers were farmers who raised sheep, chickens, pigs, cows, and more. This background provided Gonzalez with a particular sensitivity to the lack of respect often shown to female farmers, which is best captured by the common assumption that any woman working in the agricultural industry is simply the “farmer’s wife”. Gonzalez created “Vermont Female Farmers” to directly address this assumption and highlight the amazing work that female farmers in Vermont take on each year.
In order to ensure that the Vermont farming community is involved in this project, Gonzalez has already partnered with sixteen female farmers to document their work and collect their stories through the photography series.
Project Budget Narrative
Grant funds will be spent on equipment costs, travel costs associated with the project, and costs associated with the printing, framing, and exhibition of the photography series in Woodstock, Vermont.
In addition to applying to this grant opportunity, JuanCarlos Gonzalez is actively connecting with organizations in Vermont and beyond to explore opportunities that will enable the project to become self-sustaining. He is also looking into publishing a coffee table book featuring the photography series, which would further support the project in becoming self-sustaining.
Project Budget - Itemized
Materials for: post production, printing and framing
Exhibition expenses: travel expenses to/from shoots, gallery rental fees, costs associate with hosting events related to exhibit
Equipment expenses (tripod, memory cards for large images, batteries for cameras, waterproof equipment)
What will success look like?
As a project, “Vermont Female Farmers” has set the following goals:
-Bringing awareness to and promoting the work of female farmers in Vermont
-Exhibiting the photography series in Woodstock, Vermont
-Supporting tourism in and the local economy of Woodstock, Vermont
To measure the success of these goals, JuanCarlos Gonzalez will be in close contact with the Economic Development Commission (EDC), the business owners of Woodstock, Vermont (gallery owners, printers, framers, et cetera), and the female farmers featured in the photography series so as to gauge their satisfaction with the project and the promotion it brings to both the town of Woodstock and the female farming community of Vermont as a whole.
Community support for this project
As previously mentioned, JuanCarlos Gonzalez has already partnered with sixteen female farmers to document their work and collect their stories through the photography series. All sixteen of these farmers have loved the idea of the project, and Gonzalez has not yet had a farmer decline to be featured in the project. One of the featured farmers even went so far as to recommend another friend to photograph for the project.
As a resident of Woodstock, Gonzalez has a profound understanding of and respect for the town in which he hopes to exhibit “Vermont Female Farmers”. He plans to engage his neighbors by producing this project locally, utilizing the skills of local printers, framers, and gallerists so as to benefit the town’s local and tourist economies.
Community support for this project
“Vermont Female Farmers” is currently funded out-of-pocket by JuanCarlos Gonzalez. He is actively pursuing grant opportunities to finance the project, as well as connecting with organizations in Vermont and beyond to explore opportunities for both financial and in-kind support.
Vermont Female Farmers