After working on the Construction Worker series, I was encouraged by my peers to include women. Women construction workers were difficult to find, so I searched for another profession favored by women, one that would give the same satisfaction in their work. I was looking for nobility and heroic efforts. After months of consideration and false starts, I finally decided on the new urban farmers and women gardeners of the surrounding urban area.

A few courageous, hard working women have taken on the job of redeeming land in Oakland. They looked into unused weedy, cement lots and saw possibilities: Possibilities of growing vegetables and fruits, raising chickens for eggs, and, in some cases, raising animals for meat. They turned the land into community gardens, gardens they teach the owners to tend, or live off the land themselves.

I still endeavor to let the process show using gestural brush strokes, and I leave the canvases unfinished, mirroring the same unfinished look of the garden plots. I chose a limited palette to match the earthiness of the endeavor. Unlike most of my men, the women chose to smile, probably indicating the comfort they felt with a woman photographer.

I hope my work helps to shine some light on these women changing the landscape for a greener future in California.

Rosemary Allen 2015