What do we know about vegetables that we buy in the supermarket? What do we know about the producers of agricultural products? And what do we know about the people who work to produce them? Irina Ruppert worked in the fields for several months. She joined the picking line, harvested spring onions and parsley, and washed and cut salad on a wholesale conveyor. The few farmers in Dannstadt-Schauernheim are some of the last survivors of their kind in this highly efficient production circle that responds to the requirements of the market. Many farm buildings have been rented out or even shut down, but the actual activity of harvesting vegetables on the field has hardly changed. It is still done manually and it is a type of work that hardly anyone is still prepared to do in Germany; by contrast, seasonal workers from Poland, Romania or Bulgaria and their families back in their home countries rely on it to live. Irina Ruppert met the different people who work on these farms: We talked to each other and worked together. Local people and seasonal workers hardly ever connect. This is also due to the high turnover of the workers. This makes it difficult for anyone to establish long-term relationships or trust. Irina Ruppert collected historic photographs showing agricultural scenes in this region, enlarged them and used them as backgrounds for her portraits of the field and factory workers and farmers. The pictures of the series “Erz. 7139” – the title corresponds to a local producer number – contrast past and present and show at the same time the very different parties involved in the agricultural production process. Lea Gerschwitz, 2018

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