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The Crossroads of Cedar Key

This month we have the opportunity to work with the City of Cedar Key to capture their story for the Smithsonian Institute.

Andrew, Regional Manager for the National Wildlife Rescue

The project titled, Crossroads: Changes in Rural America, focuses on small towns and their paths to study the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The goal of the exhibitions is to “prompt discussion about what happened when America’s rural population became a minority of the country’s population and the ripple effects that occurred.”

Crystal, works for City Hall
Molly, a librarian for Cedar Key's Library

When creating this video for Cedar Key, our focus has been on the community and their resilience as outside forces threaten their town.

Christian interviewing Vanessa, and taking notes

Cedar Key’s main industry for a long time was commercial fishing, and this was how many of the community’s members supported their families. In 1994, the industry was interrupted when Florida voters voted to have a net ban in place. Many of the town’s fisherman found themselves looking for a new way to make an income. They learned to farm clams, and the town is now the #1 producer for the USA’s farm-raised clams!

Ben, working with the Sony FS5

The town’s resiliency can also be seen when it comes to dealing with natural disasters. As Floridians, we know the stress hurricanes can have on a person, and a city, but not to the extent the people of Cedar Key have to endure. During each interview, we heard stories of Hurricane Hermine and the devastation it caused. Even more memorable, though, were the stories of the community gathering to support each other and rebuild the town, after the storm. Stories of Martin and Terry giving out food and drinks from their cafe, 1842 Daily Grind & Mercantile, while still newcomers to the town.

Martin, co-owner of 1842 Daily Grind & Mercantile

Other stories of rival football teams coming together to bring water and help rebuild. Even stories of masseurs setting up tables and tents to give massages to people waiting in line to talk with insurance adjusters.

Stories like these, and many more, about a town of 700 coming together and rebuilding this town, gave us chills and opened our eyes to the innate resilience this community embodies. We can’t wait to go back and finish filming the town!

If you have a project you want to document, let us know!

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