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Project Overview

This project documents the history of eight family farms in Monroe County that have been in operation for 100 years or more. Unlike other regions of the country that are dominated by industrial agriculture and factory farms, agriculture in Monroe County is largely characterized by family farms that have operated through multiple generations. These family farms remain vital to the local economy and are critical for meeting local food needs.

What we Did

This project used archival research, photography, and oral history interviews to document the history of family farms in Monroe County. Oral history collects memories and personal commentaries of historical significance through recorded interviews.


Recordings of our interviews and related archival documents will be preserved at the Rochester Public Library Local History Division for future research. Most of the audio recordings are available to download from the Farms page of this website.


  • Family farmers persevere because they value their connection to the land and their heritage and their role in feeding the community.
  • Family farmers are committed to being good stewards of the land.
  • Family farmers use both formal education (many studied at Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Science) and ongoing training to stay current with rapidly evolving farming techniques and equipment.
  • Family farmers continue to play an important leadership role in many community organizations and institutions.
  • In the current generation, daughters are increasingly devoting themselves to management of family farms.
  • Land development pressures place the future viability of family farms at risk.
  • Farmers believe the general public often does not understand how food gets from farm to table.
  • Farmers believe that the general public harbors many misconceptions about the environmental impact of local farming.