Support “Common Ground: The Book” on Kickstarter

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The American family farm gives way to a subdivision – a critical cultural shift across the U.S. Common Ground is a 14-year document of this transition, through the Cagwins and the Grabenhofers, two families who love the same plot of land. See the project at

In 2008, MediaStorm had the privilege of working with Chicago Tribune photographer Scott Strazzante on Common Ground, bringing to life his documentation of the disappearance of the American family farm, and the grave cultural and environmental impact of the resulting suburban sprawl. In over 14 years of looking and listening, Scott set judgment aside as he explored the evolution of one plot of Illinois farmland, and the people who live their lives there.

Now Scott hopes to give this personal project permanence in book form. And he needs your support to do it.


Common Ground started as just another daily assignment for a suburban Chicago newspaper and turned into a nearly two decade long ongoing project that has graced the pages of the Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, Mother Jones and National Geographic.

MediaStorm’s multimedia piece based on the project debuted at the Look3 Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville, Virginia. The project has also been honored with POYi‘s Community Awareness Award and 1st place in Feature Video in the NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism contest.

The Book

Common Ground will be a high quality hundred page book dedicated to the memory of project protagonist Harlow Cagwin, who died in the arms of his wife Jean, six days shy of his 90th birthday, in August, 2012. It has been designed by Deb Pang Davis, containing nearly fifty pairings masterfully chosen and sequenced by world-renowned editor Mike Davis. The foreword will be penned by 2013 International Center of Photography Infinity Prize winner David Guttenfelder, who grew up among the farm fields of rural Iowa.

How To Help

Watch the video above. Donate to the campaign by July 3, 2013 to help finance the editing and design work that has been completed and pay for the printing and distribution of the book. Don’t forget to share the project on social media so others can do the same.

More information is available on the Common Ground: The Book Kickstarter page.