Humans have cultivated the earth for thousands of years. At present, about 11 percent of our planet’s land surface is used for agriculture or farmland. Of the land that is cultivated, the expectations on modern-day agriculture are high. Supermarkets and consumers demand increasingly lower prices while seeking higher quality and better-looking products. Fruit, vegetables, and meat must be the right size, shape, and color. They must taste good. And they should be available all year long, and, ideally, grown locally.
To remain competitive in a globalized market and produce enough food for a growing population, farmers need to produce more on the same amount of land without damaging the environment. As such, they are advised to take advantage of state-of-the-art agricultural technology and science.
Farms have become bigger, more technical and highly computerized. They operate day and night, in summer and in winter, their geographical location slowly becoming insignificant. Not only have the plants, crops, fields and farms started to change their appearance, but the whole landscape of rural areas is transforming too.
It is said that agriculture has changed more in the last 40 years than it had in the previous 400. “Strawberries in Winter” documents this new, emerging landscape, reflecting in particular on where our food comes from and how it is produced.
Editors’ note: This year, the Festival of Political Photography will present images that highlight the political, social and environmental dimensions of food.
If you enjoyed this article, you might like one of these previous features: Confronting Big Food, Henk Wildschut’s unflinching look at the industry; To See the World in a Grain of Rice, a series on climate change and its effect on the grain that feeds more than 3.5 billion people around the globe; and a project about fast food restaurants in China serving as shelter for the country’s homeless population.