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May 8, 2014

Falk's 'Barns of New York' resonates with general public

(Continued)

Numerous students also assisted Falk in her endeavors.

“For three semesters I put the students who were taking my class in the thick of it,” said Falk. “It’s more meaningful when you can involve more people in it.”

One thing that Falk noted about the New York agricultural landscape was the diversity of crops and animals that have been, and continue to be, grown and raised in the state.

“There is a good variation, which leads to an interesting variety of buildings,” said Falk.

She was also asked about the renewed interest in agriculture in the rural northeast that has sprung up in recent years, and the effect that this had on her book.

“From my perspective it’s a really hopeful thing that’s been happening,” said Falk, who said that the previous narrative has been one of agriculture’s decline since World War II.

Although the number of farms in New York decreased from 2007 to 2012 according to federal statistics, the decline was less than the national average, and the number of acres under cultivation increased. In nearby New England, the number of farms actually increased.

Falk said that some of the smaller operations that people are beginning to start up might actually help to preserve older buildings, as many are well suited to small-scale agriculture. ‘

“It actually shows that there are potentially uses for these older structures,” said Falk, who also pointed to their usefulness for agricultural tourism.

“Barns of New York,” netted Falk the Peter C. Rollins Book Award from the Northeast Popular Culture/American Association, which honors an outstanding contribution to popular culture scholarship, last year. Additionally, the book won her the Susan Sutton Smith Prize for Academic Excellence from the State University College at Oneonta.

Falk said that she has had good attendance at the lectures she has given on her book.

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