In our present society, it is common
to see the rapid urbanization and industrialization of our rural areas. As a native
resident of Buncombe County, even I have seen the slow death of rural farms in Western
North Carolina. As I look out from my front porch, I see housing developments where there
were once pastures and corn fields. The urban sprawl that is overtaking our rural areas is
leading to the disappearance of the family farms that were at one time the backbone of the
Western North Carolina economy.
Farming Big Sandy is a project that has been on my heart for a number of years. It has
been my desire to record the life of a true mountain farming family. This photographic
documentation of the Duckett family gives only a glimpse in the dignity, pride, and hard
work of their daily lives. The Duckett farm, in the Big Sandy Mush Community of Buncombe
County, produces mostly tobacco and cattle. They rely solely on their family and neighbors
to provide the manpower that it takes to maintain such an operation, much the way it has
been done for over two hundred years in these mountains. This project is important because
this way of life is becoming increasingly rare.