It was a blue-bird day in Lamar, the Southeastern Colorado town of about 8,000 that serves as Prowers County’s seat. Topics of farming and ranching typically dominate local conversations, but this past Saturday, many were talking about the Hunger Through My Lens exhibit at the Cultural Event Center.
Four residents—Elia, James, Sondee and Tasha—showcased their photographs and stories about how hunger has impacted their lives and their community, as well as ways to address the issue, for the first time on Nov. 12, 2016. They viewed their opening exhibition as a way to start the conversation about the issue of hunger locally and ways their community can address it. And it did just that.
Dozens of people visited the exhibit throughout the day, with many engaging in critical dialogue about food access, food quality and waste, obesity and the importance of community engagement to ensure local residents have access to healthy, affordable food.
Hunger Through My Lens is an advocacy project facilitated by Hunger Free Colorado and supported by local communities that aims to shed light on the reality of hunger across Colorado. It’s based on the photovoice model, a form of participatory action research that has been widely used in academic and other fields. Digital cameras serve as the main medium for participants to express themselves and put real stories to the statistics surrounding hunger, and each participant maintains the rights of their photographs.
The photovoice project initially launched in 2013 with a group of participants from the Denver Metro area. Since then, it has expanded to share perspectives from different regions of the state, including the San Luis Valley, the Roaring Fork Valley and now the Arkansas River Valley. The Prowers County project was done in partnership with resident volunteers, Emily Nieschberg, Susan Portner and the four participants to share perspectives from a rural, farming community on the Eastern Plains.
View more photos from the Prowers County opening exhibit.
Visit HungerThroughMyLens.org to learn more about the Colorado-based photovoice project and view photos from all participants.