Published on 10th October 2016
Agricultural journalists and communicators came together for the Guild's first South West regional event, generously hosted by Michael Dart (right) at Darts Farm, Topsham in Devon.
Organised by Olivia Cooper of Agri-hub and freelance photographer Peter Dean of Agripicture Images, the event combined an afternoon of photography training with a farm walk, pub lunch and networking. It attracted Members and prospective members of the Guild from across the South West and further afield, who were keen to hone their photography skills and share their experiences over a pint.
The afternoon kicked off with a meal at the Bridge Inn on the banks of the River Clyst, followed by some photography theory at Darts Farm. Michael Dart then regaled the group with the story behind the 'best farm shop in the country', which started out as a pick-your-own enterprise in the 1970s.
Attracting 18,000 customers a week, Darts Farm is keen to foster a culture of food and community, something to which Michael is bringing his experiences from the Nuffield Scholarship he undertook on the Value of Food.
"We then ventured out onto the farm, learning about portrait shots and depth of field among rows of vegetables, as well as how to get the best photos of spooky Devon cattle in the rain," reports Olivia. "The afternoon was topped off with tea and home-made cakes before a spot of essential retail therapy and cider tasting."
Among Members of the Guild taking part were freelancers Mel Jenkins, Peter Read and Sarah Birchall (and her husband Jon), Farmers Weekly arable reporter Oli Hill, horticulture freelancers Claire Shaddick and Spence Gunn, and NFU Mutual press officer Tim Price. Profits from the day – rounded up to £70 - will be made over to the BGAJ Charitable Trust, which supports members and their families when facing financial, health or other difficulties.
Anyone interested in organising or attending future South West events should contact Olivia by phone or email.