Heaven is a Field of Goats

Exploring Food Consciousness on Jackie O’s Farm

I’ve been spending lots of time on Barrel Ridge farm lately working on my final project for my multimedia class. After returning from South Africa to further pursue my environmental studies certificate, I’ve grown far more interested in sustainable lifestyles. I also love food. I’ve been searching for project ideas that combine these two loves of mine, and in the process I stumbled upon Barrel Ridge. 

Barrel Ridge Farm, in Lodi Township in Southeastern Ohio, has been a resource for Jackie O’s, a local Athens, Ohio restaurant and brewery, since 2010. The farm became a part of their business recently in an attempt to make the practice of small farming flourish again. It is run by a small staff of two farm managers and a few interns and does its best to put what is right for the environment and community over what is right for their bank accounts.

My project will explore the journey of this small group of farmers as well as the journey their food takes. I hope to show the value of small farms for both the individual and the community and urge others to explore the possibility and importance in their own communities.

Working on this project has involved waking up before the sun multiple times over the past few weeks. I can say with absolute certainty that I am a morning person after my last few shoots at the farm (I didn’t even need coffee until I got home today).

I’ve honestly enjoyed getting up early and getting out there. There’s something invigorating about watching the sun slowly rise above the trees and stretch its golden light across a frost covered field. Being up for the sunrise even made the chilling 20 degree morning slightly more bearable last week. I get to hang out with some pretty cool people all morning, and by the time I’ve shot for a few hours and I head home, I still have the whole day ahead of me.

I can’t forget to mention hanging out with a bunch of goats (who enjoy ramming into your tripod and nibbling on your camera gear). Despite my love for goats, my first day of shooting at the farm involved getting my finger chomped on by one. I’ve since moved past this unfortunate event and am no longer offended by this furry creature’s appetite for anything but grass.

Here’s a few shots from the video so far:

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