This summer I started a ‘shooting from the heart’ series. The thought was to photograph anything and everything that popped into my head and to treat each ideas as something that wanted or needed to be shared with the world. I shot pretty sessions, silly sessions, out of my comfort zone sessions and then I shot THIS session. I found Date Creek Ranch on Facebook as I was mindlessly scrolling one day. Something that day made me pause, click and read and I am so grateful I did. What I found was the beautiful, heart wide open writings of Savannah.
Many of you may not know this, but I am a vegan. Have been for 1.5 years, and I have spent my entire adult life as a vegetarian. So what happened next is a little unexpected. I even fought it a little at first. Late one night I read an article Savannah had written about her LOVE for her animals and land. (Such a beautiful read https://www.datecreekranch.com/blog-1/the-truth-of-raising-animals-for-food?fbclid=IwAR0i9NXVRrRObUvss0hNksvvHLcOo6NWlk5fvTl2reMOh8qP_UTI6qefN6s) I was so moved by this article I knew I wanted to meet her, see the ranch and photograph part of her world. I started composing a message to her and then something in my head said ‘Wait a minute, you are a VEGAN. Why on earth would you want to go photograph a cattle ranch?’
I deleted the message and went to bed. 2 night laters, another article was posted and AGAIN I was so moved by the care and concern that goes into how they use their land and how they treat their animals I knew I HAD to talk to her.
I felt like a crazy lady, explaining myself to her and what I wanted to do. After I hit send I was so nervous! Would I be well received? Would a rancher want/allow a vegan to come to her space and photograph it AND write about it? Savannah graciously accepted my proposition and a date and time was set.
As I came up and over the last little hill I saw the ‘heart’ of the ranch nestled into a little valley. There were dogs running happily and so much life. It instantly felt like a happy, sacred place. Savannah and a few others talked about the plan for the day and decided which animals were going where and how that was going to happen. I LOVE the pace of the ranch. Nothing was hurried, there is no timeframe other than to simply ‘get the job done’. I believe this mindset is part of what makes this ranch different than factory farmed animals. They do things slowly, methodically and with a natural rhythm.
As the work began Savannah and I had some time to chat and that is when I knew I had made the right decision. This place is special. Savannah is special. The animals are LOVED here. The land is RESPECTED here. They do things the way Mother Nature intended. I do not believe the world will all become vegans, or even vegetarians for that matter. What I know is that we MUST become more conscience of what we are supporting when they buy factory farmed animals and products. There is another way. There is a happier, healthier way. For the animals, for the earth and for the consumers.
These animals are allowed to be a part of the natural world around them. Eating apples from the orchard and meandering through the field. They have a life and they are happy.
In the end I understand they end up as food, and that is not something I participate in. That is my choice and not one I expect everyone to make. I am here today not to try and guilt you or to change WHAT you eat, but rather to start a conversation about HOW the food you eat is raised. Where does your meat come from? What kind of life did it have? Did it get to see sunshine and eat food that it naturally would? Was it cared for? These things matter. They matter so much. What they do at this ranch is beautiful and I support them 100%.
I hope you enjoyed this little look into Savannah’s world. I am so grateful she shared it with me and she is doing the work she does. Please take a minute to check out their Facebook page and see more of their story. You will be glad that you did!