In the heart of Sussex, nestled beneath the rolling South Downs the Gribble family have farmed the land for 100 years. The family have been at their present farm since 1928. Eddie and Jimmy have both carried on the family name from their Grandfather, William Henry Gribble through to their children, who have themselves continued working on the family farm for their fathers into early adulthood.

Passing by cornfields and herds, it is easy to forget the human connection with agriculture in our country. Thanks to its agricultural history, the south of England is home to many generations of farmers, who have passed the tradition down through the male lines of the family.

Bloodlines is an ongoing family portrait project documenting the passing of family farms down through the male generations of agricultural families.

Due to the modernisation of the country, farming is no longer a tradition in which some are continuing. The young generations are facing a tough decision, with more young people attending university, and poor prices for milk, crops and meat, many are turning to different professions, and leaving their family farms behind.

Moving the farm to it’s new home in 1928, the cattle were carried by train, unloaded on the platform and lead out through the ticket hall, a notion that today would be unheard of. There are still similarities between the first Gribble’s and the present ones. Eddie and Jimmy between them manage a dairy herd, beef herd, sheep flock and grow wheat, barley, maize, oil seed rape and beans. This is not that different to William Henry Gribble, the youngest generations Great Grandfather. He also managed a dairy herd, sheep flock and beef cattle herd but on a smaller scale. The farm would have grown wheat, barley and beans, but not maize and oil seed rape as these crops were introduced in the 1970’s. Instead he would have organically grown oats, potatoes and kale.

The importance of a family run farm is becoming even more important with the reduction of workforces on most farms. Machinery is becoming bigger and able to produce greater yields in faster times, and flocks and herds are growing rapidly in size.

None of the young generation of the Gribble’s have been actively encouraged nor discouraged by their fathers to continue in farming, and it’s thanks to their solid family values that the farm will continue. The act of keeping the farm in the family means that intergenerational relationships have a chance to flourish and bring the generations closer together, in working for a common goal. In small rural communities like this where many of the families are made up of generations of farmers, it is forever a bond which holds tight the continuity and friendships of these hardworking, dedicated people. 

Shot on a Mamiya RZ67 - Ilford 160 film. 

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