• PROOF:
  • April 28, 2014

Finding the Faces of Farming: A Peruvian Potato Harvest

On the face of it, my assignment was simple. Photograph the farmers of the world. National Geographic was undertaking an eight-month series about the vexing problem of feeding nine billion people when the great tide of human population crests in the year 2050.

My picture editor Dennis Dimick had set the agenda: show us the people who feed the planet. Face to face. Let us look into their eyes and see who they are. Meet them, know them as real people, not just visual ciphers for agricultural jargon. Farmers, particularly in the third world, are often portrayed as objects, ubiquitous and faceless, without personal stories. The fodder of statistics and spreadsheets.

Picture of a woman with mountains behind her and potatoes in her lap
Estela Cóndor photographed in the high Andes of Peru

Which is how I came face to face with Estela Cóndor on a mountainside in the Andes, harvesting potatoes. She looked into my lens, and there was catchlight in her right eye. It was that twinkle that made the picture.

Or, was it her graven face, stoic on one side, weary on the other? Or her Peruvian garb, or the way she held the potatoes and oca in her lap? Or was it the jagged Andes behind her, the switchback road—bolting across the frame like lightning—or the clouds sliding over the peaks and down in whisps into the valley?

Photographers live for these moments, when the world comes together and light streams into our souls, and the longed for image is there, in front of us. And I had longed for that moment in front of Estela for two years, time spent in research and planning. Photography seems so simple and straightforward, after the picture is taken. And so ridden with angst before.

Pressing the shutter is easy. Finding the Estelas of the world is the hard part.

This is the story of finding such people and such moments.

Portrait of a man with a basket of potatoes
Marcello Laveriano

As it happens it is also the story of the people who just may make it possible to feed nine billion people by 2050. It goes like this.

Sitting in my office back in Kansas my job was to find 30 or 40 Estelas around the world and put myself in front of them, at just the right time, in the middle of harvest, or planting, or when the fields looked lush and verdant. On several continents. By the end of October. I was sweating blood.

Researching and planning such a photographic coverage for a National Geographic story is always a big jigsaw puzzle. This one was worse, complicated by the global scope, needing to find farmers all over the world, working their fields, harvesting crops, tending livestock, and timed to perfection: when for rice harvest in Bali, for wheat in South Dakota, ground nuts in Mali or cabbage in Ukraine?

I started with potatoes. My salvation came from another Peruvian woman: Maria Elena Lanatta, a communications officer for CIP, the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru. She knows potato farmers. Once I found her, in short order she found farmers harvesting near Paucartambo—and a guide, Alejandra Arce, who knew them personally.

Neither Maria nor her agricultural research colleagues ever get the credit they deserve, but photographers like me live and die by their graces.

Agriculture can be tough to photograph. It’s a vast endeavor, perhaps the largest on the face of the planet, but not the stuff of action thrillers. Global agribusiness lacks the personal touch. We opted to look ‘em in the eye. Alejandra got me there. When she prodded me (oxygen starved and panting) up the mountain above Bella Vista I met Uva Callupe. Elegant, kind, and beautiful, Uva is a farmer. (Truth told the majority of farmers in the world may well be women.)

Portrait of a woman with a basket of potatoes
Señora Fausta “Uva” Callupe

Her potato fields are about the size of a decent American living room. Most Americans tend to think farming is simple. Not for Uva. In that little field she grows 50 to 70 varieties of potatoes, for diversity she plants fields at three different elevations, each field on a seven year rotation. (Or sometimes fifteen years.) In a good year she harvests 20 bags of potatoes for each bag she plants, hoping to keep ten 70 kilo bags for her family of four, or about 1,500 pounds for the year. The rows and trench pattern (called chiwi) are dug by hand with the traditional hoe-like Tacla, and worked four times before harvest. She hopes for potatoes to sell for cash. At lunch in the fields they gather around the traditional Pachamanca, where potatoes and meat have been cooked amid hot rocks covered with Mother Earth.

Juana Panduro Valerio
Juana Panduro Valerio

I tell you all this because Uva’s particular story is so like every other farmer’s story that I met around the world. They are always convoluted and never simple, always anguished by weather, always fretful and tenuous, and always told by smart farmers trying every year to get smarter. We tend to think that rural farmers are simple folk living simple lives. Do not be deceived.

Next stop, the rice fields of Bangladesh.

With the help of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR) and many other agencies and agricultural experts, Jim Richardson was able to locate farmers around the globe for “The Faces of Farming“, a series of portraits appearing in the May 2014 issue. This story is part of National Geographic‘s special eight-month “Future of Food” series.

There are 121 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Lars Bergen
    December 8, 2014

    Farmers rich in spirit and soul. Doing what they know best, even better, none look like victim’s. Picture is worth every step of this climb!

  2. Mary Rodriguez
    September 21, 2014

    I visited Peru in June. As we were leaving the Salt Mine tour on our way to lunch we happened upon some farmers harvesting broad beans. I was amazed at how they did this with the donkeys trampling the dried plants and the group of farmers,mostly women,in their colorful skirts and sweaters,some wearing the tall hats, following behind gathering up the beans, with the beautiful Andes in the background. Your photos reminded me of that moment. Your photos certainly reflect what a beautiful country they live in and what truly hard working people they are.

  3. K. Haynes
    September 1, 2014

    I hadn’t visited this blog for months, and was spending part of my holiday morning zipping through posts trying to “catch up” when I got to this entry. The portraits took my breath away. Beautiful work.

  4. Majid
    August 14, 2014

    Great work

  5. prastiyoeko
    August 10, 2014

    Wonderful place and wonderful people.Thank you.

  6. Segundo B.
    July 11, 2014

    I am truly impress of the pictures taken. I am heartfelt with the beauty of the indigoues people that still preserver their native values. They truly look happy. Thank you for sharing.

  7. sinthya doko
    July 8, 2014

    i was proud to eat rice but when i was in university we learned that consume only rice is not a solution for future agriculture. more than billion acre of forest is determined for new rice field, so devastated to thin about it. not only that our farming practice also make the land become unproductive from time to time

  8. thomas fernandes
    June 26, 2014

    Farmers…..the world over….are today Children of a Lesser God….photos are very touching….In my own country….there have been spate of farmers comitting suicides in the last decade…..Farmers work harder….middlemen cheat them of their earnings…..& the consumer has to pay through his nose for food….deplorable

  9. Phuong Nguyen
    June 24, 2014

    In the first picture, the old woman bursts into tears, or to make it clearer, she is almost crying. As we know, Peru is one of the mountainous regions that bear quite severe weather conditions and the living standards is almost the lowest all over the world. Most of the people earn their living by agriculture. But the fact and the real thing that make us deeply hurt is that they seem become older and older due to the poor and miserable conditions.
    The last but not least, thanks for sharing those meaningful pictures.

  10. Sean R. Harrison
    May 23, 2014

    Powerful Images.

  11. Patricia in California
    May 21, 2014

    Beautiful article and amazing pictures that capture the essence of the hard working poor in the Andes.

  12. Anny
    May 18, 2014

    El Perú tiene un tierra bendecida por su enorme riqueza pero más aún por su gente , fuerte y luchadora e inquebrantable… es el runro que mas riqueza puede proveer , sin embargo es el que requiere con urgencia la asistencia gubernamental y de entes privadas para apoyar al agro . Gracias por mostrar esta maravilla de mi tierra..!!!

  13. Lidia Llanos
    May 10, 2014

    Felicitaciones a National Geographic por su valiosa contribución para dar a conocer y revalorar el esfuerzo de muchos agricultores que nos alimentan. Nosotros en el colegio estamos realizando un proyecto por el año internacional de la agricultura familiar y tenemos una página en el facebook Cosechando Experiencias. Bellas fotografías, bellos paisajes, bellas historias, pero en especial bellas y valiosas personas. Saludos desde Tacna, Perú.

  14. Karen
    May 9, 2014

    Thank you for the pics they are amazing and truly reflect the hard working andean peruvian heart. I hope Peru’s goverment will recognize this amazing example of work to the world, it’s efficient, organic, ethical but we gotta make sure we make it fair. These farmers give the best of them and they diserve to be treated in the same way, They diserve good and fair payment for their jobs, and diserve a real and better access to electricity, education, medical treatment, HOT WATER! There is so much to do in my country and I thank you for showing one of the faces we are thankful but that we also need to change/improve for the best for them.

  15. Rafo Raez Luna
    May 8, 2014

    Best photoset in years. Congratulations Nat Geo ¡, this deservers a prize.

  16. Aurora
    May 7, 2014

    Gracias por las lindas fotos, pero no solo hay papas como el caso de Estela Condor, tambien hay ocas.

  17. Miguel
    May 7, 2014

    Gran aporte a favor de nuestros hermanos agricultores, y gracias a ellos podemos comer las deliciosas papas, existe articulos en los cuales uno disfruta por las imagenes; pero con esto uno no solo disfruta sino también aprende.

  18. Luis Angel
    May 7, 2014

    I think that the place mentioned is “Paucartambo” not Pautarcambo.

    • Alexa Keefe
      May 20, 2014

      Thank you for catching that, Luis. It has been fixed.

  19. Cesar Salazar Cabracancha
    May 7, 2014

    Grande es mi Perú, con tantos productos por conocer y que se puedan exportar por alta calidad alimenticia, ojala estos señores agricultores tengan mejores retribuciones por su trabajo arduo de dia a dia…

  20. Ciro
    May 7, 2014

    Thanks for the photos. The work milenary of potato’s producer, organic and little valuated for the economy of market. Great people because are conserving his culture.

  21. dhaneesh
    May 6, 2014

    The article, captivating. The pictures, mesmerizing.

  22. Anabela pereira
    May 6, 2014

    Não sou feliz e não consigo descobrir o que me faria feliz, mas quando vejo estas imagens e leio este texto, tenho a certeza que fico mais feliz. São incríveis estas imagens e o seu relato. Por vezes tenho inveja ( no bom sentido) destes povos que à sua maneira são felizes. Ainda bem que existem pessoas como você que nos conseguem mostrar momentos tão únicos e belos. Há que dár valor a estas gentes que fazem parte do nosso belo planeta e que contribuem para que ele seja mais feliz. Se calhar quem menos tem é quem consegue alcançar a felicidade. Obrigada por partilhar connosco o que os seus olhos vêm e o que a sua alma sente. Continue a dar-nos este privilégio. Boa sorte.

  23. Mago Medina
    May 4, 2014

    I like it all pics, but I know to these people (I am peruvian) and Estela transmit lot of things throutgh her eyes: pain, a difficult work, fatige and sadness. They have a real hard work, too phisical effort for almost nothing money… they know… they work a lot and can not pay the studies of their kids… and lot of kids goes to study and never return… But it is a great article and very wonderful pics!

  24. Mary Backhurst
    May 4, 2014

    Excellent photography and touching coverage. Have toured Peru and do have small collection of the locals in their traditional attires. Love the country, people, food & pisco sour…best in South America

  25. ORLANDO MOLINA
    May 4, 2014

    LA TIERRA EN SUS MOVIMEINTOS, PARA ALGUNAS PERSONAS Y PAISES, AVANSA A CADA SEGUNDO LO LLAMAMOS DESARROLLO Y EVULUCION, PERO ESTA GENTE HAN DETENIDO EL TIEMPO Y SIGUEN CONSERVANDO LA UNICA NAVE QUE TENEMOS EL PLANETA TIERRA.

  26. Marco de Montréal
    May 4, 2014

    Amazing where and how things start! Incroyablement beau! :)

  27. toby brown
    May 4, 2014

    it is known that if you take a photo of peruvians, directly to their faces.they believe it takes their souls away. there are over 3000 varieties of potatoes too.

  28. Majbritt
    May 4, 2014

    Peru is unforgettable, and it beautiful, stoic people even more so.

  29. Purdekova blanka
    May 4, 2014

    I was there, saw them, beautiful photos!

  30. Abraham Jauregui- Painter
    May 4, 2014

    Impressive, human and environment photography.

  31. john van slambrouck
    May 4, 2014

    No greater subject than the human soul…. keep up the good work!

  32. MARIA M SEIBEL
    May 4, 2014

    Thanks to recognize the hard job that this people do. They enjoy doing this, and that make them happy, I am peruvian and I have been then in tha Andes many times, and see how they work,and they love their job, maybe many people feel sorry for them, but is all the opposite, they do what they like and their life is simple, they dont need nothing else to be happy, is the life that they inheritance from years and years of tradition..Thanks for the pictures, are so beautiful.

  33. Maria M. Rosa
    May 4, 2014

    Thank you for such a story. I’m always watching NatGeo for all their stories because it show us a world that we don’t see in our daily life..Thanks again.

  34. Bob Carl
    May 4, 2014

    What a beautiful people. There lives are so hard, but they seem to find joy in what they have.

  35. alexandra
    May 4, 2014

    Just back from Indonesia where we have seen farmers way too old working in rice field under 35ºC.Thanks for your work I hope it will help us to realize to stop wasting food even if we just have to walk down to the supermarket and buy a 1kg bag of rice for less than £2!Beautiful pictures and thanks again!

  36. eleni
    May 4, 2014

    Great article! I’m a small farmer in Greece and all i want to say is: respect to those who can feed the rest.

  37. Donna Farrell
    May 4, 2014

    Poignant photos of beautiful people

  38. Prem Thamas
    May 3, 2014

    Pain seems hidden behind.Is that the theme the person behind the camera aimed ?

  39. Luis Gutarra
    May 3, 2014

    wonderful :) thanks for the story

  40. analiza
    May 3, 2014

    Yes, I saw these people when I was in Peru 2 years ago. Thank you for recognizing these amazing people.

  41. albert reyes
    May 3, 2014

    what a wonderful story for these people,farmers need suport to all of us.

  42. oscar
    May 3, 2014

    No potatoes originating in Peru; and without the wheat from Argentina, Europe would not have survived 2 world wars post. Now the Peruvian quinoa will feed them, bon appetit …

  43. Bruno Mauricci
    May 3, 2014

    “At lunch in the fields they gather around the traditional Pachamama, where potatoes and meat have been cooked amid hot rocks covered with mother earth.” It’s wrong. It should say: At lunch they gather around the traditional “Pachamanca.” Pachamama is the Mother Earth and Pachamanca is the meal cooked in the earth.

    • Alexa Keefe
      May 20, 2014

      Thank you for pointing that out, Bruno. The post has been updated to reflect the correct wording.

  44. Anna
    May 3, 2014

    I was there, I saw these people – a great job, thanks!

  45. HAYATİ UÇAR
    May 3, 2014

    Yazılar yeteri kadar Türkçeye çevrilmemiş olmasına rağmen Resimler çok beğendim.

  46. Leah Prosia
    May 3, 2014

    Estellas picture is very interesting, it really touch my soul, her eyes, her face. I remember my days when i was little, i helped my grandpa harvesting potatoes and it was really fun. I thank all the farmers all over the world especially to those farmer who needs help. Thank You National Geographic.

  47. Jose Gomez
    May 3, 2014

    Wonderful job! As a Peruvian myself, I appreciate the pics and your words; the title itself states how important is the humble work that those peasants are doing everyday, for centuries: taking care of the food for tomorrow’s world. More yet, no GMO, no pesticides, no “modern chemicals advancements” are used to grow those delicious, tasty potatoes. They use only their centuries-wisdom hardwork, talking to nature, to their ancestors, to guide them. It is a lesson for the industrialized, globalized world that it is not only money which make humans thrive.

  48. Ann
    May 3, 2014

    The native Peruvians are beautiful people. Your photos capture their essence perfectly.

  49. Dinorah
    May 3, 2014

    This is a great article! The pictures are beautiful! We have become a very spoiled society…we believe we deserve everything! and how many times farmers are literally discriminated and abused? Next time you buy your fruits and vegetables, put a little thought into the faceless person that picked it for you to be able to eat it, and give thanks to those rough, hard worked hands. Thank you!

  50. Michael Atkins
    May 3, 2014

    Jim, I’ve been following your words and images for some time now. You always inspire me. Amazing images. Truly amazing.

  51. Nancee Taylor
    May 3, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your photographic secrets! Such stunning photos, which one could only dream of re-creating.

  52. flory Swiggum
    May 3, 2014

    gracias a todo el equipo de national geographic por compartir estas historias que llegan al alma, es realmente gratificante saber que hay gente que se preocupa por la gente , por sacar a la luz todo el esfuerzo y la lucha de estas valientes personas, verdaderos guerreros modernos,son muy dichosos mas que nosotros ellos disfrutan lo que hacen y mas que todo sus alimentos no estan contaminados, sus cultivos son puros, organicos , no existen los pesticidas, ni los transgenicos, dichosos! Dios les bendiga por cultivar la tierra como es debido!

  53. Nancee Taylor
    May 3, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your photographic secrets! Such stunning photos, that one could only dream of recreating.

  54. leandro
    May 3, 2014

    Mi sangre peruana que corre por mis venas

  55. Angie Weiss
    May 3, 2014

    Those are beautiful photos. I was fascinated with the crop they produced. I have tried farming once …not in Peru, but in South Africa. This led to committing a whole ‘genocide’ on tomato and green pepper seedlings! I guess you need the wisdom and knowledge passed on by generations to know how to make plants thrive so that they produce food that we all take for granted.

  56. Monique Robion
    May 2, 2014

    Beautiful. your pictures are full of life, of light. Putting hard workers forward is a great idea. Makes their life conditions better known. I bought the NG in French this afternoon, you are in it ! :)

  57. swati giri
    May 2, 2014

    thanks to national geographic who give so much of consideration to the farmers who are actually in today’s busy world ignored ! It was indeed great to read all of this .

  58. Christine Berthy
    May 2, 2014

    Respect. Reminds me of portrait of feminine old members of my family peasants in France.

  59. Sofia Garavito
    May 2, 2014

    Absolutely beautiful pictures and very interesting article. As a Peruvian living overseas I must confess that these pictures inspired me to go back to my country and continue my work with local farmers which I left over two decades ago.
    Thank you for bringing the faces of Peruvian people who feed the world!

  60. Margaret Bending
    May 2, 2014

    Absolutely beautiful photographs capturing the Spirit of these resilient farmers. I have eaten these potatoes with the Peruvian people, they are so tasty and the variety of shapes is amazing. This is a staple for many of the poor people living in the Andes.

  61. Leslie McKnelly
    May 2, 2014

    I lived in the Andes for a while, and I always thought that Pachamanca was the traditional meal cooked in the earth, and that Pachamama was mother earth herself. Did I have it wrong?

  62. 志明 杨
    May 1, 2014

    喜欢你让影像变得锐利而更具说服力的阐述,你让我们看到一个不容忽视的现实,或许影像真正的意义是显现或是揭示作为人类生存需要得到解决的困境。我得说我喜欢你所说的那句话:Pressing the shutter is easy. Finding the Estelas of the world is the hard part.谢谢你富有怜悯之心的照片与更强大的文字观照。期待你更多精彩的发现……

  63. Maria Raguz
    May 1, 2014

    Compliments on the story and, especially, the photographs. I am peruvian. Just wanted to add, in the rural áreas trade permits fair Exchange but when these peasants sell their products in currency, then it generates a wide gender gap, women´s s potato sac being paid much less tan men’s. International evaluations show Peru has among the widest economic gender gaps in the world. Looking forward to see the full NatGeo coverage.

  64. Lorena Danessi
    April 30, 2014

    Thank you, Jim!! Incredible pictures!!! I worked for CIP for 22 years and Maria Elena is a good friend!! Looking forward to reading the full article!

  65. Nazario Galarza Cuellar
    April 30, 2014

    Gracias por fomentar la agricultura en el Perú esos hombres y mujeres que trabajan en los andes necesitan promocionar para mejorar su agricultura; soy del ande, he vivido en mi juventud la siembra y la cosecha de la papa. muchas gracias por fomentar las fotos son auténticos oriundos del Perú.

  66. melita
    April 30, 2014

    Wonderful pictures. Thanks for outlining the lighting in the shoot.

  67. Jim Richardson
    April 29, 2014

    Pamela, you have every reason to be proud. Thank you.

  68. Jim Richardson
    April 29, 2014

    Jose, thank you for sharing your feelings and your knowledge. I can never hope to know all that I would like about this place.

  69. martin king
    April 29, 2014

    I LIVE IN SAN LUIS, LIMA PERU….I SEE FIRST HAND THE RESULTS OF THESE FARMERS FROM THE MOUNTAINS….LOVE THE PICS & YOUR STORY!!!!!

  70. Pamela Bustamante-Rojas
    April 29, 2014

    What beautiful work you have done Jim! I feel so proud of our Andean people for their hard work. With over 3000 varieties of potatoes, the Andes climate make it perfect for the harvest.

  71. Paul Newon
    April 29, 2014

    all I can say is, THANK YOU! farmers rock….

  72. Danuta
    April 29, 2014

    Amazing project and wonderful photographs!

  73. Jose Mendez
    April 29, 2014

    Marcelo Laveriano, his working hands proudly powdered on the earth that feeds us. Fausta and Estela, their loving glances, their age serenity. All them beautyful people, all of them poor, all off them full of needs. There is a way of getting closer: their magic fruits, 3000 varieties of the softest, most deliceous potatoes you may imagine. They have deep “eyes”, difficult to peel, just like the land they come from. And they are incredibly nice and generous, like the people that harvest them. Just a bite and you will travel back to its origins. We call them “native potatoes”. And a suggestion: in local markets arround Peru some of these varieties like “huamantanga” are realtively easy to find. You must cook them on steem, never boil them in water. I have also seen some native potatoes in New York City, at a well known specialty produce store, they are expensive there, but you may try. Hopefully, in near future, they will become more popular. For our delight and for the well been of their producers. Thank you Jim for sharing this world wiht us.

  74. Rene van Wyngaarden
    April 29, 2014

    My daughter -in-law is Peruvian. It was my honour to visit Peru for one month. I instantly fell in love with the country and its people! They are amazing people. They work so hard. They are so friendly and caring and they feed themselves for ages! in a desert!

  75. Christina Fernandes
    April 29, 2014

    Beautiful pictures and very well written article. Thank you. Best regards Christina, Norway

  76. Jim Richardson
    April 29, 2014

    Theresa, what a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

  77. Freddy Avalos
    April 29, 2014

    Beautiful pictures, I’m so proud of my people in the high Andes of Perú I learned to understand how they see the world, what they think, how to understand them something is really hard for many people from the cities, is a complete different culture these people have what they need, they are the source of ancestral culture and they deserve respect I don’t think they belongs to another world like third world, expression like this should be correct, I like NG even with some mistakes I like the pictures. Have a great day

  78. Jim Richardson
    April 29, 2014

    Thomas, you are right. My mistake. Pachamanca is the delicious meal in the mountains. Thanks for the catch.

  79. Jim Richardson
    April 29, 2014

    V Bunch. You are so right. Thanks for catching my mistake.

  80. Jim Richardson
    April 29, 2014

    For all of you techie photographers out there, here is a note on the lighting of this shoot. We wanted to elevate our subjects photographically by making elegant looking images, but did not want the lighting to call attention to itself. Also, whatever lighting I used had to be repeatable all around the world, and it had to be portable, something I could carry myself (no lighting crew) and make work in the middle of a muddy field.
    The whole shoot was done with a FourSquare soft box with three Nikon SB-800 flash unites, triggered with Radio Poppers. This let me run high speed flash sync on my Nikon D-800E, which in turn let me shoot almost the whole assignment at f2 to get that soft, out of focus background, even in full sunlight. I tuned down the lighting so it was just adding shape and volume to my farmer subjects, without becoming too obviously lit. Most of th time the light, which was mounted on a monopod, was held by someone traveling with me, or even by one of the other farmers in the field, who were invariably glad to lend a hand. (Thanks to everybody who held my light, you know who you are.) All of the kit fit into a backpack that I could carry on the plane for international flights. Most of the time I had two to five days in the field in any one country, so there wasn’t much time for settling in. Pretty much run and gun. But when I had subjects like these the whole trick was getting there, and then trying to keep the shooting setup from getting in the way.

  81. Jim Richardson
    April 29, 2014

    Dipanjan, thank you so much. It means a lot when I hear things like this. Repeated viewing is one of the things that make still images so powerful, that we can go back again and again. Not only do the pictures reveal something new each time, but we come back anew each time, our understanding evolved, our insights sharpened or on a new vector. As we grow the pictures grow, too. I noticed that as I wrote this article, that I saw more in Estela’s face over time, was more able to see two sides of her life, each living with the other.

  82. Sharon Hughes
    April 29, 2014

    Thank you, National Geographic & Jim Richardson, for doing this important report. I’m a 66 year old woman, living her 8 year old dream of farming in Western North Carolina. The business successes I’ve had in my life do not compare to the pride I have in growing my own food. I’m amazed at the lack of knowledge on where and how food is grown. I hope people take the time to absorb all the information you provide – agriculture & water are the means of survival. More important than most of the comforts modern man puts high value on. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  83. sephia sunny
    April 29, 2014

    Beautiful pictures..beautiful stories..

  84. clermont
    April 29, 2014

    Très belles photos. Je connais le Pérou. Je connais ses individus qui nourissent la planete pour quelques soles par jour. On leur doit beaucoup. Merci.

  85. Sandra Larsen
    April 29, 2014

    Farmers need support. I loved this. Thank you.

  86. Isabel
    April 29, 2014

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures and bringing us close to the hard working people of the Andes. Their faces as well as their hands have made an impact on me.

  87. Ramona Calbeaza
    April 29, 2014

    Very touching, thank you for the story! God bless these beautiful Andean people!

  88. Yvonne
    April 29, 2014

    Beautiful Photos!..Thank you National Geographic for adding light to these Peruvian farmers..peace&luv

  89. Subedar nizamuddin
    April 29, 2014

    Natlonal geogkaphlc no.1

  90. Natalie G
    April 29, 2014

    You should go to Colombia (SouthAmerica) too, the difference there, is the farmers are on strike cause the goverment denies their rights and the president doesn’t talk to poor and dirty people… Isn’t it sad.

  91. Ana C. Balarezo
    April 29, 2014

    Thank you for your article Jim, I totally agree with you in that we need to give value to the hard work that these wonderful people do to feed us with the one of the most important and consumed food crops in the world. The Andean region of Peru where the potato grows is one of the poorest regions of my country with few viable sources of income available to the local people; one of them is the harvest of potato. To support these populations and expand sustainable incomes the government should put all their efforts in order to give the farmers not only infrastructure, and technology, but also basic needs such as education, healthcare, and equal opportunities. Furthermore they also need sustainable development that ensures the well-being of this population by integrating social development, economic development, and environmental conservation and protection. As a Peruvian, I’m so grateful and proud of my hard working and beautiful Andean people. They really deserve a lot more recognition of everyone. I hope one day all things change for the better.

  92. v bunch
    April 29, 2014

    Pachamama means mother earth. Pachamanca is is the food cooked on the dirt oven

  93. Ruwen Libato
    April 29, 2014

    Beautiful captures and I loved reading the article. It gave a deeper meaning to the photos presented. Very inspiring.

  94. Dipanjan Mitra
    April 29, 2014

    I kept looking at the portraits continuously for a long time over and over again and each time I could find some different emotions in those faces. The images really touched me. Thanks a lot Mr. Richardson.

  95. Evelina
    April 29, 2014

    Wonderful people. Thank you!

  96. sab
    April 29, 2014

    Essence of photography i loved to learn from you Jim.. Fantastic.. Great photos.

  97. zuhaimi arshad
    April 28, 2014

    i wish NG to document a ‘ rubber tapper’ work and life . Rubber tapper tapping a rubber tree to yeild the latex to fullfilled the words needs from condom to component in the space shuttle, while they were suffering not only by mosquito bite as they have to start work as early as 3am in the morning to accepting the up and down of the latex price. cheers…

  98. Cheryl Casamento
    April 28, 2014

    I am from Kansas, too. The lighting is absolutely perfect. Captivating…that is what those photos are…

  99. Thomas
    April 28, 2014

    “At lunch in the fields they gather around the traditional Pachamama, where potatoes and meat have been cooked amid hot rocks covered with mother earth.”

    I believe you mean they gather around the pachamanca, the earthen oven. Pachamama is mother earth.

  100. jenny estrella
    April 28, 2014

    Loved both the photos and the story. Beautiful faces on a beautiful background doing what we should all be doing: producing our own food!

  101. salvatore
    April 28, 2014

    No son objetos de turismo, tampoco es gente diferente, es gente que se ve a si mismo…y trabaja mucho, se sacrifica, siembra y cosecha,, espera la lluvia, después de haber arado el campo, no es gente de museo, tampoco gente de catalogo, a la que puedes ver y decir asombroso!.
    No! es gente que trabaja, para que podamos ponerle una papa más al caldo, freir una porción mas para el pollo a la braza, es gente con suerte de no tener mala suerte.

  102. Paige Ofstedahl
    April 28, 2014

    I spent the summer of 2012 harvesting potatoes in the remote, Peruvian Andes (near Ayacucho). These photos bring back wonderful memories of the beautiful people I met and the many varieties of potatoes I unearthed – thank you!

  103. Liz Querido
    April 28, 2014

    Your pictures are breathtaking, you captured something that does not need words to understand.

  104. Jim Richardson
    April 28, 2014

    Laurent, I absolutely loved the people I met in the Andes. It is true. They work hard, they treat you very kindly, and have found a way to live in the high Andes for a very long time. Thanks. Jim

  105. Jim Richardson
    April 28, 2014

    Rodolfo, Usted tiene razón. Se necesita mucho más. Las carreteras, mercados, educación y gobiernos más importantes y estables. Gracias por tu comentario. Jim

  106. Jim Richardson
    April 28, 2014

    Melanie, I’m so glad you liked them. We do need to pay more attention to those people who bring us our food. Thanks, Jim

  107. Drago
    April 28, 2014

    … respect … to Peruvian farmers …

  108. azmat ali
    April 28, 2014

    Wonderful stories! Just love it

  109. Nile
    April 28, 2014

    Beautiful portraits, with amazing light. Interesting faces and a way of life I cannot imagine. Thanks.

  110. Gary Wingenbach
    April 28, 2014

    Mr. Richardson, you sir, captured the very essence of farming and food production for many worldwide! I’ve been to Peru several times, but have never looked through the lens as you did in this story. Thank you for the inspiration, and for shedding light on the truly “vexing problem of feeding nine billion people.”

  111. Olga
    April 28, 2014

    Great people in a great country. I wish this could be a great world too, to return them what they do for it, and for all of us.
    I love your work. Congrats for such initiative.

  112. Beth Pulliam
    April 28, 2014

    When ever I have had the honor of meeting and or observing farmers of our world, after their face I am always drawn to their hands. It says it all

  113. cecilia Innes
    April 28, 2014

    Beautiful, beautiful images, bringing out the dignity and valour of these courageous people who labour under such tough conditions to make a living and feed their families. This is an epic endeavour NG has set itself, honouring to these people. Bravo!

  114. Rhiannon
    April 28, 2014

    Great article. I thought “pachamama” meant something like “mother earth” and “pachamanca” was the cooking process described? Anyone have an insight, or was this a mistake by the writer?

  115. Theresa May
    April 28, 2014

    One day, while visiting Peruvian farmers outside the mountain town of Otuzco, a family invited us to eat lunch with them. We sat down to a delicious meal of chicken and boiled potatoes, which we peeled by hand as cuyes or guinea pigs scurried under our feet. As we left, the people loaded us up with food, including a gigantic boulder-sized squash that a very small older woman hand-carried to give us. The people impress me with their strength, ingenuity, and generosity. Hats off to the Peruvian potato farmers!

  116. Melanie Randall
    April 28, 2014

    Beautiful pictures!
    I grateful for the attention National geographic is giving to farmers and their stories.

  117. Rodolfo
    April 28, 2014

    Alimentar a tantas personas, es complicado cada País aporta un gran numero de productos alimenticios, pero se necesita mas apoyos para que esos productos que salen del campo lleguen a los consumidores. Muchos productos se echan a perder por la falta de distribución adecuada y falta de apoyo de gobiernos que tienen otros intereses.

  118. Laurent Thibault
    April 28, 2014

    Had occasion recently to visit a village in Peru where the people grow all these amazing varieties of potatoes. They are a wonderful, warm, simple people who have been successfully farming in a harsh environment for millenia. Many men from the villages were our sherpas on the Inca trail to Machu Pichu. Their capacity for work at high altitude is unmatched. I think they have alot ot teach the world about the imprtance of agricultural diversity and and how to live simply and sustainably and yet happy with strong family structures.

  119. Dick Haas
    April 28, 2014

    I have been enriched in my sense of the human experience by these photos of Easter in the Holy Land (I am a devote non-believer) and by the beauty and message of the photos of Peruvian potato farmers…Wish I were much much younger and able to do such work…My days were with Kodachrome and today we are (wife and I) pretty much restricted by age to the house…

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