go see what Michael's up to) as it is for Month You Start Actually Looking At The Catalogs Instead Of Madly Preparing Your Order, but let it be my white girl's gesture toward equality.
So, not every company makes it as obvious as Baker Creek (the Gettles have a very cute daughter who is clearly tops in the Adorably Posing With Enormous Vegetables field), but you may or may not have noticed that along with the Cute Caucasian Children in the seed catalogs, there are a lot of other white people and not so many people of any other race. Well, let me rephrase: there are not a lot of people in the catalogs, not when compared to the number of vegetables and flowers. Some catalogs avoid humanity altogether, and in some the human presence is subtle. But when it's there, it's white.
To choose one example, not entirely at random but based on the relative prominence of human skin therein, the 2012 Territorial Seed Company catalog has, by my count, 55 photos that include people or parts of people (hands, for the most part; don't be imagining anything else, now) in which skin color is reasonably visible, and I interpret 100% of these as representing Caucasian heritage. (Two of the same Cute Caucasian Child included, appropriately enough showing off the Cute Stuff Pepper.) Misinterpretations based on degree of tan may exist, but mostly they look pretty pale. I'm not picking on Territorial; this is a near-universal phenomenon.
Now, I can see where it comes from. Seed companies and garden supply outlets do not have enormous budgets. They're not hiring models; they're using their staff to pose with tillers and hold up bean pods. And most of these companies are based in pretty white areas of the U.S., so most if not all of the staff is white. (Territorial has a photo of the staff, with TINY faces so I can't tell for sure, but yeah, pretty much pale. Based in Oregon. Maine is another big seed company center. Wisconsin, Missouri, the rural regions thereof, you can see the trend.) I'm not saying that white people who love plants and have a secret longing to become hand models shouldn't go to work at these places. I'd love to work at one of them. Nor do I know anyone non-white who's decided to boycott seed companies based on who's demoing the hats and gloves and handfuls of red wiggler worms. It's possibly not that big a deal. On the other hand, how hard would it be to pull in a friend of color when it's time to take the photos? No one needs to know you paid them in free seeds and a meal of heirloom veggies, because that just might possibly be interpreted less than positively, but as long as everyone agrees, fine.
I'd love to see Southern Exposure buck the trend; right now they don't even have hands in their photos, so no chance. Nice veggies, though.