New scans

May 5, 2012

A few scans from London and my last trip to the Netherlands and Germany.

© Freya Najade

Pears II

March 26, 2012

© Freya Najade

Raspberries and Pears

March 7, 2012

Raspberry Field

© Freya Najade

Pear Orchard

© Freya Najade

Tomatoes

February 25, 2012

© Freya Najade

© Freya Najade

In order to consume locally grown tomatoes in countries such as Netherlands, UK, Germany, the tomatoes need to be produced in heated green houses.

Tomatoes locally grown allow a more instant distribution to the consumer and supposedly minimise the use of carbon since less fuel is needed to transport the goods. One green house with a size off 12 ha  (17 football fields) produces 3000t tomatoes per year.

The tomatoes are grown on rock wool and not in soil, which allows total control of the nutrients and the water entering the plant system. Like this the plants are according to the growers less likely be infected by a disease and a smaller amount of pesticides is needed. The irrigation, the nutrients and also the climate inside a green house are precisely managed by a computer system. To boost the harvest the growers often add CO2 to the plants.

In order to produce in more sustainable ways and to keep the cost of energy low the green house above is heated by the waste heat from a near by nuclear power station.

February 16, 2012

© Freya Najade

Modern apple growers use apple varieties that are grafted onto Dwarfing Rootstocks. Developed at a research station in Kent these rootstocks reduce the tree size, but not the size of the fruit or the amount of fruits harvested. The trees need less water and less space than traditional apple trees, which makes high density planting possible. The fruits are more accessible and easier to pick, because the trees are smaller.

New work

January 22, 2012

I know, it has been a long time since my last post. But amongst other things, I started my new project for which I was researching and photographing the landscape of modern farming.

I decided to do a project about this topic after I came across a picture of a modern milking parlour last year. I was so amazed by all the high tech involved, and became conscious that I don’t know much about farming these days or where actually my food is coming from.

I was surprised to find apples on dwarf trees, tomatoes not grown in soil but on rock wool; green houses heated by the waste heat of nearby nuclear plants, chicken reared in 42 days from chick to chicken; salad grown without sunlight; and cows milked on carousels.

It sounds almost like science fiction but after quite a bit of research and meeting many farmers I realized how high and complex the expectations of agriculture are today. Supermarkets and consumer demand increasingly lower prices combined with higher quality and a better look of products. Fruits, vegetables or meat have to have a perfect colour, seize, shape, and taste. They should be available all year long and ideally locally grown (strawberries in winter, tomatoes from Germany) without damaging the environment.

To remain competitive farmers are advised to use the newest science and the latest technology to boost their production. As a result farms become bigger, more technical, more computerized, and make often use of special developed plants and animals.

So how does a contemporary farm look like? What science and technology are involved? In my project I am attempting to capture  the above to create a vision of farming at the beginning of the 21st century in Europe.

Below are a few scans of images I have taken so far.

© Freya Najade

Cress, tomatoes, cucumbers, or salad are grown in closed systems just with LED lights. There is no sunlight and no direct exchange of air with the outside. Day and night, summer and winter stop existing. Humans are able to determine the shape, taste and colour of plants and fruits. They can be grown anywhere from the desert to inside of restaurants and supermarkets.

© Freya Najade

Salad is grown in a stacking system to provide a maximum use of space. Plants grow inside of plastic trays without soil. A conveyer belt is moving the plants to ensure they get all round sunlight. Waste, water and nutrients are collected, purified, and recycled. Essential nutrients are added to the plants roots. The whole growing process is computer controlled. The system currently produces around 112 lettuces per square metre, on a 3m high system.

© Freya Najade

Since the mid 1990s the consumption of chicken has increased by 75 percent worldwide. Chicken are often reared in barns. One chicken barn has the capacity to rear 50.000 chickens. There are up to 16 barns in each location, which allows one settlement to rear around 800.000 chickens simultaneously.

© Freya Najade

8 people are needed per shift to cater for the 800.000 chickens and to keep the facility running. The chickens live for a period of 42 days. After 42 days they achieve the desired weight for slaughtering. They are brought to the nearby processing plant. The chicken barn gets cleaned and disinfected, ready for the new chicks to come.

East London’s Canals

April 16, 2010

I am still working on getting access and founding to continue my project If you are lucky, you get old here in the UK. Hopefully, that keeps moving soon! Meanwhile, I was getting really desperate to pick up my camera again and to just shoot. So I continued with what I was talking about earlier this year, to take pictures around the Canals in East London.

And now I got so much into it. This week I started doing more research about the area and went out again. The whole district is also of heightened interest because the Olympics are taking place around there. However, I am not sure how much importance this will have for my project. Basically, I  just want to let happen what happens. And then I will also see how serious this project will really become but for now it is a lot of fun.

© Freya Najade

Dalton Rooney

April 16, 2010

I am now a fan as many others.

© Dalton Rooney

Canals – East London

March 5, 2010

Since it is slowly becoming spring in London, I started doing bike rides along the canals which go through the East of London. I love this area and I am thinking of doing a mini project about this strip.

© Freya Najade

Countryside

January 30, 2010

Not too long ago, I went to Wales. It was so good to get out of the city and to be in nature again. But I was shocked and amazed by the complete darkness of the nights. I had totally forgotten about that.

© Freya Najade