Matthew Moore's New Project Documents Farm-to-Table Process

Alarmed by predictions that his family farm in Surprise will be gone in just a few years, local farmer and artist Matthew Moore is doing what he can to preserve the legacy of the land.

Over the past few years, Phoenix-area galleries have displayed Moore's large scale illustrations of the encroachment of suburban developments and shopping plazas on his farmland. He also introduced a video project called "Lifecycles," which captured buying habits of shoppers at a Utah grocery store via video footage that later aired at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Moore's latest effort, the Digital Farm Collective, involves long-term filming of the growing process. The project was inspired by the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway -- also referred to as the "Doomsday" seed project.

kale time lapse from Matthew Moore on Vimeo.

"That sounds so negative," says Moore. "It's an indication of how desperate we are. We have no idea where our food comes from." Moore hopes to steer the conversation in a more positive direction and educate consumers on the growing process by placing time-lapse cameras on farms across the country. The footage would be displayed in grocery stores and used for school programs.  

Moore currently has two farms lined up to participate; one in California and another near Louisville, KY. He's also in talks with farmers from the native Tohono O'odham and Hopi populations.

The time lapse units Moore hopes to provide would capture crop lifecycles and weather data that could be used by other growers down the line. "This project is like a visual seed vault," he says. "I wanted to create something that will last throughout the years."

According to Moore, the films could span as much as 50 years of life on a rural farm.

Matthew Moore is currently seeking funding for his Digital Farm Collective via United States Artists (as of this post, he's about halfway to his $13,000 goal). Deadline to help fund the video project is Friday, May 13. Read more about the project here and donate funds via the USA website.

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