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Photographer, Bridget Besaw, Tells a Bigger Story

During the month of February, the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library will be featuring the work of Bridget Besaw.  This photographic exhibit “Maine Farms At Work” is a collection of images the Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) commissioned Bridget Besaw to create to tell the story of what they are working to protect.

Maine Farmland Trust works to permanently preserve Maine’s agricultural lands. Without such protection, valuable agricultural land that grows our food and feeds the local economy risks being developed into home sites and parking lots. Since 1999, the organization has helped preserve over 30,000 acres of farmland.  In addition, the Trust operates FarmLink, a program that connects retiring farmers with younger people trying to enter the business. To date, it has made over 70 links – that’s 70 farms that will likely continue for at least another generation. 

With these images, Maine Farmland Trust hopes to inspire a renewed appreciation for the vibrant farming heritage that shapes Maine identity. Ms. Besaw, an environmental photojournalist, tells the story through these photographs of the human connection to the natural world.  She feels her work is successful if the viewer wants to step into the photograph – even if only for a moment. 

The primary inspiration for Besaw’s work is environmental protection.  She works closely with small and large environmental organizations to help them envision, and then create in-depth photography projects that tell the story of how they are helping to create a sustainable global community.  This focus has led to large-scale photography projects for organizations such as Maine Farmland Trust, Maine Woods Forever and The Nature Conservancy.  Ms. Besaw’s projects have been supported by The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, The Blue Earth Alliance, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and The Kittredge Foundation. 

In addition to this month-long display, there are two other opportunities to learn more about  the mission of Maine Farmland Trust – of which one again involves Bridget Besaw’s work, the other a film by Maine filmmakers.  

On Friday, March 16th, the library’s literary luncheon will feature the book ‘From the Land: Maine Farms at Work’, written by MFT’s executive director John Piotti with photographs by Bridget Besaw.  The luncheon begins at 11:45am and the cost is $10.  If you are interested in attending, go to the library to register anytime before March 15th, during their business hours of 10:00am to 4:30pm Tuesday through Saturday, excepting Wednesday when they close at 7:00pm. 

Then again, on Wednesday, March 28th at 7pm, ‘Meet Your Farmer’, a series of short films about farms in Maine, will be shown at the Harbor Theater in Boothbay Harbor.  This film has been shown in well over 60 venues in Maine and is moving, insightful, informative, inspiring and sometimes humorous. Produced for Maine Farmland Trust, the film offers a glimpse at the many different types of farms in the state.  From the potato harvest in Aroostook County, to the innovations of a seventh-generation farmer Downeast, to the struggles of a dairy farmer in Western Maine, the short films remind viewers that farming is more than just a historical feature of Maine; farming in Maine is alive and well.  ‘Meet Your Farmer’ was directed and produced by Cecily Pingree & Jason Mann from Pull-Start Pictures. 

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