Beginning in March 2008, field producers and photographers across the country began documenting farmers’ stories for CDS’s ambitious audio and photography–based project Five Farms: Stories from American Farm Families. Over the course of a yearlong cycle of seasons, families from New England, the South, the Midwest, the Southwest, and the West Coast shared their stories, making connections between the food on our tables and the families who produce it.

The series was produced by CDS audio director John Biewen, with Wesley Horner serving as executive producer.

“These families,” said Biewen in an interview with WBUR’s Here and Now, “they’re aware that their work is absolutely essential to the lives of all of us. And they also feel misunderstood, they feel that most of us, our lives are very removed from the farm now. We don’t have a good understanding of what a farmer’s life is like, the kind of challenges they face in producing food and surviving on the land. They were quite happy to have the chance to tell their story. . .”

In 2009, the Five Farms audio pieces were aired nationwide in a series of five one-hour broadcasts on public radio stations and in a series of features on NPR’s All Things Considered, as well as on the BBC’s program Outlook. The Five Farms stories and photographs were featured in an exhibit at CDS and on a dedicated website.

Go to for audio stories and photographs as well as additional content including behind-the-scenes interviews, interactive maps, and original theme music.