This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
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This oral history interview with Ashley Loehr was conducted at her farmhouse in Hudson, NY on 18 July 2012 for the Oral History Summer School 2012 project. Ashley Loehr operates a fall/winter farm called Sparrowbush Farm near Hudson, NY. She begins the interview by talking about her family and the origins of her interest in farming, speaking specifically of her mother as a role model. She then discusses her experience learning about the Zapatistas in high school, going to Chiapas to learn farming methods in Mexico, and returning to Germantown (near Hudson) to work on a community farm (CF). She goes into some detail on the intricacies of working with others on the CF, and the organization of public events such as a skill-share workshop hosted at the Germantown CF. She discusses the relationship between CFs and the larger community, detailing the complexities of community support, consumer expectations, and the role of a farm in a capitalist economic system. She provides some details on the products of her farm and her daily activities. She also provides some discussion of the history of the farm, the farmhouse, and the surrounding area. The interview concludes with a discussion on the future of her farm and the future of CFs more generally.
I was born in 1976. I teach history at Dawson College in Montreal, Canada. I am interested in oral history because I see it as a way to expand the historical archive to include voices that are often left unheard. I also think that putting audio files on record is very important, as I see the human voice as an important conduit of information that cannot be captured in writing. My interests in this summer school project were originally to develop pedagogical materials for my history courses at Dawson to better engage my students. In learning more about Hudson, I realized that building an archive of its residents’ voices would enable future historians to hear from a wider diversity of people in order to see the complexities of a place, hearing about some of the ways different people lived in an era where homogenization might appear to be the dominant mode of life.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.
Oral history is an iterative process. In keeping with oral history values of anti-fixity, interviewees will have an opportunity to add, annotate and reflect upon their lives and interviews in perpetuity. Talking back to the archive is a form of “shared authority.”