“Harvesting Rhode Island” will promote public awareness through folk life studies by interpreting how this significant way of life on the farm will manage to survive. The series will explore how traditional systems can be creatively maintained and become more of a dynamic marketplace. Introducing the general public to the farmers of Rhode Island will provide insights into the complex but easily taken-for-granted process behind products they consume.
“Harvesting Rhode Island” will tell the central story of how farmers have responded to changing technology and markets so they can continue to succeed in business. Growers have had to balance traditional approaches that were handed down to them with the variable realities of today’s business climate. In the latter part of the twentieth century, local wholesale markets began to shrink due to large retailers and national distribution systems. As a result, growers increased their direct marketing through on-site retail stands, pick-your-own programs, farmers markets and selling fresh products to local retailers. This direct approach has in turn stimulated diversification to satisfy the eclectic tastes of increasingly sophisticated consumers. A large number of consumers in Rhode Island are unaware of the locations and variety of crops that are grown in the state. “Harvesting Rhode Island” will take them on location so they can see farmers and listen to their stories.
The educated consumer will play an important role in the economic development and sustainability of Rhode Island farms.