Enduring Image has grown from a childhood fascination with photography starting about fifty years ago. Over the years many hours in the darkroom eventually gave way to digital capture and editing.

I am motivated to create images that impart an emotional response from viewers. My goal is to create beautiful images that also stimulate thought and discussion of our environment and the human condition.

Dan Hemmelgarn

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Healing Hands Calendar

My wife, Melinda and I published our 2011 calendar in September 2010. This one celebrates organic farmers and raises funds for the Missouri Organic Association. I photographed the farmers' hands while Melinda interviewed them. I hope you enjoy the photos and information about the farmers.

John and Julie Rice, “JJR Family Farm”

This little pig isn't ready for market at just six days old. But the Rices agree: "there's not a much cuter farm animal." In addition to being organic, JJR Farm is "animal welfare approved." When the Rices went organic in 2007, their animals' health improved. The Rice's biggest hurdle: too few organic meat and poultry processing facilities. If Julie could put a billboard on the Interstate it would read:  "Eat organic: protect your health and your children's future."

Nicola MacPherson, Ozark Forest Mushrooms, Timber, MO

Nicola MacPherson started growing mushrooms 20 years ago as a "hobby." Thousands of impregnated oak logs later, she boasts a magnificent grove of fabulous fungi – coveted shiitakes -- growing under an emerald canopy in the Ozark wilderness. A forest steward, and one of the pioneers of the Missouri Organic Association, Nicola produces her mushrooms organically because she doesn't like chemicals – "we know they cause cancer. We want clean food."

 Molly Rockamann: Founding Director, EarthDance FARMS: Food, Art, Relationships, Music, Sustainability  *  Ferguson, MO

Molly Rockamann says she "got into farming because it's the intersection of everything I'm passionate about" -- children's health, the environment, culture and food.  Acquiring land is a challenge for those who want to farm. In the circle of hands are Molly and her hopeful apprentices, from librarians and electricians to stay-at-home moms, flight attendants, graphic designers, pharmacy technicians and more. EarthDance farmers hope to continue the legacy of the oldest organic farm in Missouri.

Dan Kelly, Blue Heron Orchard, Canton, MO  *  Missouri's first certified organic apple orchard
In 1990, Dan Kelly planted 500 apple trees on five acres of contoured land above the Mississippi River. Dan says the "orchard is his teacher."  He is intimately connected and committed to his trees and the ecosystem that nourishes them.  He laments that "we've lost our connection to our food, and that diversity is missing from the corporate milieu." When asked why he farms organically, Dan simply replies: "because I live here."

Walker Claridge, The Root Cellar & Broadway Brewery, Columbia, MO

Walker Claridge juggles many roles – farmer, restaurateur, grocery store owner, chef, and most important: father. Walker says he "got into farming through eating." He admits it's not easy to farm organically, but through the power of intention, an eye on his son's well-being, and organic and biodynamic farming role models, Walker grows, sells, prepares and educates to make a positive difference. "I want to restore the future for mankind."

 Gary Littrell, Littrell Feed & Seed, Inc., Thompson, MO

Originally, Gary farmed organically seeking higher profits. Today his "driving force is sustainability and doing something you can feel good about." Gary knows our health comes from the soil. "If we take care of the soil, it will take care of us, but if we don't have good health, nothing else matters." Gary says his yield is similar if not better with organic, but he wishes farmers were paid for quality, not quantity.

Brad and Meghan Dixon,  Cottage School Acres, Green Ridge, Missouri  *  Secretary, Missouri Organic Association

The Dixon family farm became certified organic in 2009 because they love children, animals, and nature. They believe "God put us here as stewards." "When pesticides show up in children's urine, there's something wrong," says Meghan. She'd like to see organic agriculture taught in schools. "If we want to make changes in agriculture to save our planet, it's got to come from our kids." Gathered around Meghan's childhood kitchen table, her generous family shares their garden's first watermelon.

Terry Durham, Eridu Farms, Hartsburg, MO  *   Founding member, Missouri Organic Association
Like Hippocrates, Terry Durham recognizes the healing properties of elderberries. He also sees the economic potential of developing a grower cooperative, and "whole new industry" around Missouri's native "superfruits." From "flowers to pharmacy," the "king of [elderberry] juice" works with researchers, winemakers and fellow elderberry enthusiasts to produce the healthiest, hardiest plants in the Mid-West. An avid conservationist, Terry believes organic farming is the "logical way to save agriculture."

 Robbins, Jim and Lonnie Hail, Bear Creek Farm, Osceola, MO
The Hails farm organically because they "don't want to poison the planet." "Robbins' passion is growing," says Jim. But to Robbins, "Jim's the rock that makes this all happen." Climate change is forcing the Hails to "rethink their farming methods." "We can't grow the same things we grew 20 years ago." Robbins loves the fresh energy her son Lonnie brings to the farm. Here, Lonnie hands figs to his mom. 

Sue Baird, President, Missouri Organic Association, Bunceton, MO

Sue Baird's Cherokee grandmother taught her to "revere the Earth." Sue feels "blessed to help move the organic movement forward, to provide healthy food, and preserve our environment and heritage for our children." The bean in Sue's hands has roots in France. Thanks to seed saving, her great grandfather LeMaster's seeds continue producing today. "We didn't have money, we had seeds. Seeds are our human heritage."

 Drew Kimmel, Missouri Northern Pecan Growers, LLC, Nevada, MO
Northern pecans may be smaller, but they're uniquely sweet and flavorful. Just ask pecan perfectionist, Drew Kimmel, his hands shown above inspecting nuts for blemishes. Drew protects nutmeat quality with careful control of temperature, light and oxygen before shipping worldwide. Drew says his organic pecans enable him to provide growers with a premium, while attracting like-minded customers who value organic production methods, such as using beneficial insects and pest traps, rather than harmful pesticide sprays.


  1. Your images, my words...working to make a better world. Thank you for being my soul mate. xx

  2. These pecans are amazing - they have taken my granola from great to irresistible!

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