Story and Photos by Anthony Marino
I started photographing life at Autumn’s Harvest Farms in Romulus five years ago. Like many people, I had never been around a working farm; let alone walking among cows, pigs, and chickens. I got my photos from pointing my camera through stable gates, out my car window, and between fence posts.
What I noticed first was how quiet life is in the fields, but I was also very aware of the sheer power of the animals. They are raised on pastures that have been modeled after the works of Joel Salatin and Allan Savory. Salatin’s sustainable grassland farming methods first came to prominence in 2006 in the groundbreaking bestseller, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Savory, a Zimbabwean ecologist, livestock farmer, and environmentalist believes that keeping livestock moving in bunches can help heal the environment.
Farm owners Tim and Sarah Haws believe that regenerative farming is truly the most responsible way to raise cattle and other livestock. The animals work the soil the way nature intended. Their herd of American Murray Grey cows is a unique breed and is, in fact, the largest of its kind in the nation. They are short, extremely docile, and have been a pleasure to work with. Their temperament made me feel at ease when I finally got into the fields with them. Being out on the pastures with the herd is the only way to photograph them, I realized. Long gone are the days of sitting in my car, hoping for a perfect shot.
Salatin has said, “Too often, parents whose children express an interest in farming squelch it because they envision dirt, dust, poverty, and hermit living, but great stories come out of great farming.” Taking photos of cattle at Autumn’s Harvest Farm, has given me many stories to tell my daughters, and has given them a few of their own. Farming is about family, it’s about the animals, and it’s about the community. I’ve been truly lucky to have had the opportunity to capture these moments and share my stories.