Sustainable Farming – by Mike Hipple

Mike Hipple
 
Mike Hipple is a Seattle-based photographer.  He has a BFA in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design and has worked on numerous fine art, editorial, and commercial projects throughout the years.  He also attended Speos Photographic Institute in Paris, France.
 
Farmers

Herd of turkeys with the Cox family home in the background.

Over the Cascade Mountains in Washington State lies an entirely different landscape than that found in Seattle: arid, hot, and often dry. It’s another world.

Former Seattle artists Christina Miller and Matthew Cox bought a 23-acre farm here and are endeavoring to make a farmstead work in this harsh environment – with three kids under five years old to boot! The goal? Cox says, “Well, we’re not preppers but at some point, practical skills are going to become very useful again.” They are currently raising several cows (both for dairy and for meat), laying chickens, a couple of pigs, crops of tomatoes, kale, and others in a short growing season for the purpose of feeding their family and the community around them.

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Cox with the family dairy cow, Love. Cox is working on making Love as domesticated as possible so she will be easier to milk as she comes of age. He heads out every morning and evening with a bunch of clover for her to eat.

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Eggs are one of the most popular farm products the farm sells.

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Matthew Cox outside the hoop house. IN short growing seasons, the hoop house is an important tool in keeping the crops warm and safe from the extreme winds in the area.

I first visited their farm, Green Bow Farm, right after they bought the place in 2012. I was amazed at what they had done and knew such a radical change was something I could never do. However, I could definitely see the appeal. The landscape was beautiful and I love the idea of growing your own food and having all that space for your kids to run around and have a great childhood.

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Christina Miller, with sons Harlow and Malcom, working on pricing items for the Roslyn Farmer’s Market, one of the regular markets they sell at.

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Bottle feeding the calves.

Over the course of the next year, I kept thinking about their decision and I knew I wanted to document some of their experiences. I visited with them several times this past summer, documenting them and their work.

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Working the honey bee hives.

I do think this is an important story to tell; there is nothing more important than our food supply. There’s all this increasing talk about how corporate farming is not good for the animals, our planet, or our own bodies. Folks like Matthew and Christina are hopefully part of a change towards smaller, more sustainable farming.

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Nine-month old guard and herding dog Bella is alert on the fields at sunset.

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