week of 4.14

4.14
Received an e-mail today from Libbey Oliver with a link to an article on a Kansas family transitioning to organic farming and cattle raising: http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/20080411/nf8

4.15
No work done.

4.16
Created sheet of questions for interview with Charlie Maloney. Conducted interview at 1 outside the Keck Lab on campus. I thought it went very well and we covered a lot of ground considering he had a class to teach at 2. He mentioned ASD (Appalachian Sustainable Development) and the partnership it has with Ukrops. Perhaps I can give Ukrops or ASD a call and talk about the farm to grocery store connection. He also mentioned Arlington Farms in King William County and that they have had a relationship with both Ukrops and Fresh Market.
Found this article today about a talk Mr. Maloney and his wife are giving tomorrow at the library. He did not mention it in the interview but I may try and stop by. http://www.dailypress.com/features/dp-life_helpfarmers_0416apr16,0,7448346.story
Also moved the interview with Donald Hunt up to noon. I had forgotten about a piano lesson I have at 2 and felt I would need more than an hour for sure. He is still hesitant about using recording equipment though I think he may end up agreeing to be recorded. I told him he could always restrict the information so as to not allow newspapers to ever use it.

4.17
Interviewed Don Hunt today. Began the interview just after noon and left Hill Pleasant Farm a bit after 1:30. Though I had a number of questions pertaining to my research, the interview took a decidedly different path. It had not occurred to me that Mr. Hunt’s family has lived in Williamsburg, and on that piece of land since the early 1900s and that Don himself grew up in Williamsburg and has resided here all of his life with the exception of four years. I tried to take advantage of the change in direction and ask more historical and Williamsburg-based questions. He did mention both golfing and a drive-in movie theatre and I tried to pry into those areas a bit more. After he was so hesitant to agree to this, and the recording equipment I was amazed he talked so openly and so much. I felt as if around fifty minutes or so something changed and we kind of had an underlying understanding in our relationship of him relating all of this personal information to me. As 1:30 approached and I had to leave for my piano lesson I asked him if he would be willing to continue the interview and we set a date for Sunday 4.20. I would like to follow-up on several topics he touched on including the farm selling to the public school system, grocery stores, and the Navy. I would also like to discuss the future of the farm with him and what is happening to the land currently. Maybe I can use this as a life-history interview?

4.18
No work done.

4.19
No work done.

4.20
Second interview with Don Hunt. This one lasted over an hour and I was able to follow-up on what I had planned. He talked in a bit more detail on the process of farming and the challenges farmers face today. Throughout both of these interviews I felt a sense of nostalgia and some sadness as the land his family has been farming since 1911 is no longer being worked by them. I did not bring an indexer to either of these as the first interview I was not sure if I would even be able to use equipment and did not want to make Mr. Hunt uncomfortable. For today I felt as though if I brought an indexer that would be betraying the relationship Don and I had established on Thursday. I tried to loosely index throughout the interview however found that this kept my frame of mind in the past of what he was saying rather than looking forward to the future and the next question to ask him.

1 Response to “week of 4.14”


  1. 1 Arthur Knight April 22, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Sounds like a great interview, Ellen–well done.

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The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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