Matthew Moore: rural life meets urban sprawl

The fourth generation farmer and artist has high ambitions to document farming life in the 21st century
Matthew Moore, Rotations: Moore Estates
Matthew Moore, Rotations: Moore Estates

The fourth generation American farmer and artist Matthew Moore has dedicated his work to documenting the collisions between rural and urban life. His family property in Arizona is gradually being swallowed by the suburban sprawl from the city of Surprise, itself part of the fast-growning boomburbs of Phoenix.

Rotations, Moore's three series of aerial photographs (consisting of The Craftsman Bungalow, Single Family Residence and Moore Estates) document the evolution of the rural landscape from above. Meanwhile, his Lifecycles series of time-lapse films document the entire process of growing crops of vegetables from seed to harvest.

Moore's work aims to address issues of ecological, cultural and economical sustainability and to tell the stories of the farmers as well as the crops. Moore is not making a stance against urban development, but wishes simply to document two very different kinds of growth: agricultural and urban.

'If I'm against development then I'm a hyprocrite,' says Moore. 'As farmers we created the model for this type of growth. We came here, ripped apart the native desert landscape and continually tried to increase our yield. It's essentially the business model for any suburban development.'

Moore is now campaigning for your help for his latest project, The Digital Farm Collective. The project aims to create a digital network of farmers, inviting them to contribute to a 'living library' of time-lapse videos of the lifecycles of their plants and vegetables, with the hope of reconnecting consumers to the land and the agricultural process. Interestingly, while Moore's work is hinged on the dichotomy beween rural and urban, this project also signals a transition from traditional farming towards digital farming.


Follow the link to Edible Geography for more information on Moore's projects.

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