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Documenting Beauty in Agriculture

Photo by Martina Buchholz

In 2011, Martina Buchholz (MS – Food Science, ’16) was traveling in India with her family when she took the picture, “Indian Mustard Field,” which won first place in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences 2016 Agriculture Abroad Photo Contest.

The girl in the picture is Buchholz’s niece, Ashi, and she is wearing hand-embroidered, traditional Indian children’s clothing. Buchholz and her family had already visited farms in New Delhi when they discovered the mustard field just outside the city of Agra.

“I think the photo really captures diversity, from the clothing to the tractor decorated with garland and the cow in the background, roaming without constraint,” Buchholz said.

After earning her undergraduate degree, Buchholz spent six months traveling to countries in Europe and Asia. She grew up in the Midwest and was unaccustomed to seeing a variety of crops. For Buchholz, it was a unique experience to see any crops other than corn or soybeans.

When Buchholz decided to participate in the contest, she debated between two photos. The photo she decided not to submit showed a man working barefoot in a nearby field. His only tool was a hoe.

“People often think of hardship when they think about farming in other countries,” Buchholz said. “I wanted to make sure the photo I submitted represented beauty and not just hardship.”

Buchholz wants to work in production and development for the food industry. She believes that her experience traveling abroad will help in her career.

The Agriculture Abroad Photo Contest was started in 2011 in conjunction with the CAES Office of Global Programs annual International Agriculture Day. CAES students submit agriculture-related photos from around the world. Then, the top five photos are chosen by a selection committee and the winning photo is chosen by vote at the International Agriculture Day event.