This type of interviewing isn’t just writing down answers on a paper just to rewrite it again. Oral history interviews are done with a recorder, and a prepared list of talking points after hours of research. Not only does this interview provide us with knowledge of a specific time or someone’s life – it’s a chance to document exactly how something was said: tone of voice, laughter, sighs, pauses, a crack of a voice… feeling.
I enjoy stories on paper too, and talented writers put feeling into words with descriptors, but if you’ve ever listened to a well done recorded interview – it doesn’t compare.
That’s what I love about oral history. That’s also what gives this project so much meaning. Listening to documented stories from farmers around Wisconsin is an educational tool, an eye opener, something that we walk away thinking about therefore influencing our thoughts or actions.
I am excited for the Lands We Share initiative to start its debut in October and showcase our work to the public. As they look and listen, I hope that the Wisconsin Farms Oral History Project influences them as it did me.