* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
John Fawcett-Long, Coordinator
Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
3040 Belvidere Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98126-2223
* * * * *
Cynthia Vagnettia, is doing a photographic and oral survey of sus ag
practitioners across the country, with Jerry DeWitt of ISU. She has
previously documented farm women in photos and text:
Cris Carusi, director of Nebraska Sust Agr Society, has instituted
poetry as the closing article of her organization's newsletter:
SD artist Jeffrey Morrison painted a series of scenes on an abandoned
farmhouse on the prairie.
Ellen S. Russell, Ph.D., Director, Nebraska Network 21, University of
Nebraska-Lincoln, 309 Biochemistry Hall, P.O. Box 830701, Lincoln, NE
68583-0701, organized a 'chautauqua' last fall for its gathering of
projects. Director Ellen Russell enlisted a major artistic director to
coordinate artistic interpretations of each NN21 action team, as well as
surrounding the presentiations with other art, such as choral and
instrumental interpretations in the Capital, weavings in the
presentation room. The artists helped the action teams and
demonstration projects prepare a presentation capturing the essence of
what they have learned during the first year.
Purpose of Chautauqua:
· Focus on creating a community of learners.
· Discover a new way to learn from one another.
· Share and celebrate accomplishments and progress.
· Interact with stakeholders and across boundaries of higher-education
· Incorporate the fine and performing arts as a vehicle for thinking
about change and experimentation.
Wyatt Fraas, Center for Rural Affairs, <email@example.com>
* * * * *
Slow Food - Sustainable Agriculture and Responsible Eating. This is a
video by Linda Gammell, Michal McCall and Sandra Menefee Taylor.
255 E Kellogg, St. Paul MN 55101. They interviewed women in Michigan,
Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin, made a video and a "memento"
display that they use at fairs and other
The play done about Rachel Carson's life. It is a one woman
"documentary" that is exceptionally well done. Can't remember how to
contact them but Laura DeLind from MSU anthropology
department may be able to help with this. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Susan Houghton, <SHoughton@aol.com>
* * * * *
A couple of years back at our annual Ag and Natural Resources Week
events at Michigan State University, there was a play in the evening, it
was a one woman show. The actress was playing the part of Racheal
Carson, the ecologist and author. She held the audience captive and a
powerful message, that all life is connected and we need to operate in
the world in way that honors that truth, was conveyed. The actress was
professional as she had been on a television series, I beleive it she
was the pyschologist on the older versions of Law and Order.
In California where I once lived there were a number of activist groups
(environmental) that did some great theater for the cause.
John Fisk, Michigan State University, <email@example.com>
* * * * *
A woman presented a sustainable ag. message through pictures she had
take around the country as I remember. The presentation was to the
North Central SARE Administrative Council. The year was about 1994 or
1995 at a Kansas City meeting. Perhaps someone at the SARE office
at the University of Nebraska could help. Steve Waller is coordinator.
Sunshine Prairie Farms, Tom Guthrie Jr., < firstname.lastname@example.org>
* * * * *
On this listserv and another I'm subscribed to there have been threads
of discussion on the connection that exists between art and sustainable
agriculture and then spirituality and sustainable agriculture. After
letting this compost for a bit, I have to pitch in my forkful. I see
the two threads as basically the same. The many forms of artistic
expression are all ways of expressing spirituality. These are the ways
we humans capture the spiritual essence of life and bring it into the
physical realm for sharing.
Two of the examples that Misha gave of artistic expression in
sustainable agriculture were ones that I experienced personally. Both
occurred during the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values
Society/Association for the Study of Food and Society meetings in
Madison. Both had an impact on me that is at once profound and yet not
The food fest on the lake where Chefs Collaborative 2000, Homegrown
Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin Housing (chefs used their kitchens)
and the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems hosted conference
attendees outside under the huge, gracious oaks at lake's edge. The
food was the art. A beauty that still enchants me as I think back. The
humans that had produced the food and then those that transformed it
into the beautiful dishes stood there while we applauded their
creations. I felt as if our whole group had been transported into a
higher level of being. For a moment we felt our commonality of spirit
The other was "Rural Voices" which was a theatrical event. I do not
have the brochure from that night so I don't have the right words to
describe this wonderful experience. There were songs, a series of
vignettes, and a discussion following. My 80 something mother was there
in the audience with me. She was a dairy farmer with my father for at
least 40 years. One of the vignettes was about a farm accident.
Afterwards we talked about our own farm accident that had taken my
brother's arm so many years ago. The play took us to a place where we
could share more about what we had felt back then than either of us had
before. To talk of it would have been too painful.
Sustainable agriculture with its focus on the earth, social justice,
future generations, and community has always offered something to me
that science and business can not. It has always been about the
spirit. I hope our art grows and with each year more fully captures
that spirituality. We will be better people for it.
Kate Smith, Philadelphia, <email@example.com>
* * * * *
Good questions which have intrigued me too over the years. One of the
most moving events of the Kellogg IFS Network Meetings was the story
telling brought by Michael Cotter to the Iowa meeting. You know of
course of the use of drama by LSP [Land Stewardship Project] and/or the
Center for Rural Affairs in the mid west. I met with a mime troupe once
to try to set up a program on marketing for farmers. They were very
interested but I didn't have any money and we couldn't figure out who
would fund it so we never followed through. Drama and such were never
big down here, music and dance certainly were. the Highland Center in TN
polished that to a fine art! Don't forget Carol Anderson with her
wonderful mural type pictures. I always wanted to do a marketing booklet
in cartoon format but I guess I am straying far from your domain of Art.
John M. O'Sullivan, North Carolina A&T State University,
* * * * *
This is a little different from people creating their own. But I have
used the art of Remedios Varo, a Spanish/Mexican surrealist artist, to
illustrate systems and connectedness in lectures and presentations with
groups that range from the Seed Certification Association in Nebraska to
Sustainable Ag gatherings in several sites. It is one way to help make
the connections you suggest. A biography with quite a few of her
paintings is by Janet Kaplan, called Unexpected Journies or something
like that. The idea came from a Professor at Oklahoma State University,
whose name I can't remember at the moment. Good luck. Chuck Francis
* * * * *
The Fishtown Artspace, located at 1 Center St. in historic downtown
Gloucester, is a nonprofit arts and community center devoted to
encouraging the practice of art by fueling people's imaginations and
providing tools, expertise, and programming to facilitate the expression
of the resulting ideas. Since 1995, the Artspace has operated a free art
school for low-income teenagers living on Cape Ann. For more information
on the Artspace, check out http://www.artspace.org/
Renewable News Network, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
* * * * *
One of the most fun and memorable KRC [Kansas Rural Center] events was a
night of song and poetry in a small town coffeehouse. Many of the poems
and songs were about the land, rural living, work of KRC, and, of
course, love. I always thought inspirations of the beautiful was an
under utilitized organizing tool for sustainable ag.
Jerry Jost, <email@example.com>
* * * * *
CIAS has done a number of arts-in-ag projects over the years. Here are a
few examples, and how we got them supported.
Two years ago, when we hosted the joint meetings of the Ag, Food, and
Human Values Society and Assn. for the Study of Food in Society, we
decided to make one theme of that conference "telling stories about
food." The Wisconsin Humanities Council supported us as we brought in
storytellers, theatrefolk, poets, student photographers, and others to
balance the academic content of the conference with narrative and vision
and song. We also did a culinary arts celebration of Wisconsin
Last year, a WHC grant brought a participatory African dance and drum
circle to the Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference--the idea was to
raise some juju for the National Standards engagement, with a nice
harvest basket dance. It kinda turned into hundreds of people shaking
their singular and collective bootie, and raising some big mountain of
juju...though the basket dance got a little more...generic...than that.
That African dance circle (which I've danced with for five years) has
done participatory circles at other ag-related events, including the
annual solstice pancultural celebration at Folklore Village (Ridgeway,
WI) in 1996.
There are some very interesting arts in ag events recently in Wisconsin.
As part of the Sesquicentennial celebration, a field at Randy Hughes's
farm was planted to...labyrinth. !!! A corn maze in the shape of the
state. It drew many thousands of people. If I remember correctly, it was
supported by a coalition of state organizations (sesqui commission, and
The West Bend museum of art was involved with another crop art
initiative--Stan Hurd painted the land, in flowers, with sandhill cranes
in the summer of '95.
There are many more examples, and they are generally well-received, and
inspire people greatly.
Donna Newirth, of the Neu Earth Worm Farm in Reedsburg, and her partner
Jay Salinas have a CSA operation that combines sustainable ag, ag
tourism, and the arts in unique ways. Their eaters come from the suburbs
of Chicago, and make the commute (one household per week) to Wisconsin
to pick up the food for everyone else. In this way, the eaters spend
time on the farm, and in Wisconsin. Jay is a sculptor, and Donna a
former corporate events planner--and they have wonderful ideas and
projects going to blend ag and the arts as part of their educational
mission at the Worm Farm.
In my experience, smaller funders have been *EAGER* to support such
events. And people are HUNGRY for them.
I get as many questions about the vision, passion, and spirit of
sustainable ag as I do about production methods, research findings, and
so forth. I feel that the two issues are inextricably woven. Feeding the
mind without feeding the spirit is like feeding the belly without
feeding the spirit. More like taking on ballast than actual nourishment.
And we've all seen plenty of evidence, in the 20th century, what havoc
mind-full but not mindful research can wreak.
Michele Gale-Sinex/CIAS, UW-Madison, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
* * * * *
I would recommend Cynthia Vagnetti to you - she is a very good
photographer who takes works with SARE I think. Saw here work at the 10
year conf in Austin March 98 - very good at getting the message across.
She is currently doing a book with Jerry DeWitt. I don't know it she is
tuned into Sanet so may miss you posting, whe can be e-reached at
Woody Deryckx <Wderyckx@aol.com>
* * * * *
You should try to contact Don Roht in Nelson [email@example.com], who's
helped get a barn mural show happening up there, with local
artist/farmers painting murals on their own (and others') barns. Summer
tours were very successful. There's also been a lot of popular theatre
done around the Prairie farm crisis (the 1980's one, that is). I'm a big
fan of helping farmers to farm, so that they can have some time in which
to express their creativity in other than daily farming.
My partner suggests that perhaps we should try farming for the arts,
farming artistically, to support artists in our community.
Rebecca Kneen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
* * * * *
One of the most tangible forms in existence today are the inspiring and
evocative photographs that Whole Foods Markets and to some degree
Nature's Northwest stores use in their produce departments. These are
photographs of farmers in their landscape, with their workers,
surrounded by foodstuffs, and often include a quote from the farmer.
Nature's has taken this a step further and had a lap dissolve slide show
that projects images overhead in the produce department. Landscapes,
still lives of food, farmer portraits. Of course this is marketing first
and foremost, but is done in a way that appeals to the senses and not
just the pocketbook.
At TFA, we have a calendar project that would have photographic images
shot on location at member farms.
Shannon Loch, The Food Alliance, <email@example.com>
* * * * *
John Fawcett-Long's post about art reminded me of the exhibit organized
for SARE's 10th anniversary conference in Austin, Texas, early last
year. There was a room featuring artwork on the walls and Nancy from
Montana had some of her found art sculptures displayed. There was a
table in the middle of the room where people could make their own art.
It was a pleasant oasis of
culture in the midst of an otherwise traditionally-organized gathering.
We make an effort to include culture in each of our Nebraska Sustainable
Agriculture Society's western conferences. This year our keynote
speaker, Sally Herrin of Nebraska Farmers Union, read her poetry. Last
year the Sweet Adeleines sang for us. The previous two years featured
poetry at lunchtime. I'd like to include more music in our programs in
the future as it definitely does touch people in a different way than
As a matter of fact, a number of years ago I felt that I ought to go
into music or film-making because it seems as if popular musicians and
films have such a strong impact on our culture. Bob Marley is one of my
few heroes, a man whose music was inspirational and who used his power
to create change for his country. What an example to aspire to!
Finally, I want to share a dream of living on the land that I've been
turning over for quite a while. Solar-powered vehicles including
tractors, great diversity in plant and animal species, continuous ground
cover, water catchment systems are some of the physical features that
would be necessary to fit into the 21st century. Socially, I would want
this land to be open to all who need a place to regenerate, to be safe,
particularly to runaways who flee from abusive homes but have no place
to go. Community is an essential part of this dream. This community
would be well-organized and open to whoever had a desire to contribute.
What keeps haunting me is the notion of providing a place for
disenfranchised kids to go, an alternative to the streets and feeling as
if there is no place for them. These children are our future, and when
the family breaks down, it is up to the village to do what it can for
Any responses appreciated!
Jane Sooby <firstname.lastname@example.org>, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
* * * * *
First of all -- yes, I think trying to express the sustainable agr
message in as many ways as possible is a great idea. I don't have alot
of concrete examples as to what's already been done but a few... one is
a photo exhibit that was done by a group in Minnesota on women farmers.
It was a low budget piece, done by some women who started a very low key
support network. I think it became a traveling display and went around
to town libraries. Then there are the numerous painters residing
everywhere -- I've often thought of trying to gather a show here in the
Pioneer Valley of MA which featured local artists and their work
portraying farming landscapes. The last thing is I know CISA recently
sponsored a one woman play called "EAT" - it was at one of the local
libraries and focused on issues related to food and food production. I
didn't go, but I bet it was good. I'd love to see the responses you get
PS you could contact Kathryn Gilje @ email@example.com about the photo
Vicki Van Zee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
* * * * *
Get a hold of Cynthia Vagnetti -- she is great -- knows sust ag., and
wants to integrate what we are doing with media/arts presentations. she
is at email@example.com.
Liana Hoodes, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
* * * * *
I've long pondered this. back east we started to talk to a really neat
theater troup. they had done a piece called growing up female: the cast
was age 8 to 80 and very multi-cultural. they met for a series of 8 or
so weeks sharing their stories and it was then woven into a play with
music. it was so powerful to hear their stories and know these were the
real people. i was interested in a food system / rural-urban one. the
kid from the city who never saw a tomato on the vine, the person who can
remember when these were just fields, the farmer... There are some great
theater folks in Seattle that i think could pull this off (for example,
marc wineblatt? did a piece with homeless street youth). i've had this
tucked in my mind as part of the education component in the grant we are
working on, but why wait. go for it. i would like to bring the arts
community into the leadership community if we are funded.
Janet Hammer, <email@example.com>
* * * * *
As part of SARE's national conference last year, held to mark 10 years
of our program, we included an "Art in Agriculture" room to try to make
some of those connections you mention. I heard from many that they
really enjoyed visiting the exhibits throughout the 2 1/2 day
I organized the exhibit and a session that had the featured artists
speak a little about their work and how their art connected to a more
In the exhibit we included:
* Color photography of Dick Thompson's farm from Jerry DeWitt
* B & W farmer portraits + video from Cynthia Vagnetti
* Sculpture from Nancy Taylor
* Line drawings of cover crops
* Historic farm posters from the Nat'l Ag Library
* An interactive table intended to bring out the artist in our
conference attendees. We set out squares of plywood, glue and lots of
different seeds. At the end of the conference, we glued the squares onto
a large piece of wood.
All of the above was a lot of work to set up, but people really seemed
to get something out of it. Hope this helps.
Valerie Berton, SARE, < firstname.lastname@example.org>
* * * * *
Here are a couple of leads for you. There's a Native American sculptor
associated with the MN FSPE project "Visions for Change". Project
associate director Maggie Adamek 612-624-7451
And something that has always fascinated me is a story from a Dutch
friend of mine, Arie van den Brand, email@example.com, that the Dutch
Young Farmers Association always has a drama at their annual meeting
that is developed around the year's theme by semi-professional actors
and actrices in collaboration with local chapters of the organization.
You might contact Arie by email, mentioning me, and ask him who to
contact for more info.
Hal Hamilton, Center for Sustainable Systems, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
* * * * *
A wonderful idea; this is much needed. Contented market gardeners,
soothed by Beethoven's string quartets, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring,
Shoenberg's Song of the Nightengale, Perotin & Machaud's early music,
the music of Torroba played oon the classical guitar by Andres Segovia -
would be inspired to labor with added vigor at soil improvement and crop
production. Lots of new age music, acoustic and electronic is very fine
- great for listening to on tape out in the field.
Ex.: Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston, Walker Evans, all photographers.
Millet (sp.?) "Toilers of the Field"
Countless old out-of-print volumes with wonderful photographs of market
agriculture in Europe, UK and the USA.
All this has been done, you just need to pick up the baton and move into
the 21st century with your work. How about online galleries for the
sound & art of sustainable agriculture? I'd be more than glad to set
this up in a new page here at MetaLab.
Lawrence F. London, Jr., <email@example.com>
* * * * *
I've been thinking about a Creative Alliance for CAIA [Community
Alliances for Interdependent AgriCulture]. The art/social change
connection appeals to me.
Kate Smith, Philly, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
* * * * *
These notions are important, not only in moving forward with sustainable
agriculture, but, also, with lots of other things, including my
interests, which are solar energy related. Aside from using art to
state statements, attract attention, etc. artists, as a personality
type, seem to have inherent understandings and a capacity to act on
their intuitions, without the reasons, you refer to.
We developed solar barnraisings, as promotional, educational and media
events. There's probably more to celebrate around growing and
Ross M. Donald, <email@example.com>
* * * * *
The arts do hit home with many people. Our fight against the large
livestock factories is going to be done in a couple of ways that you are
talking about. We are recording a "factory pig" song. And then an
environmental song with a children's book.
The visual arts are very powerful to hit home with your ideas.
Kathy Jeffries <firstname.lastname@example.org>
* * * * *
using art as a means to initiate/encourage/introduce change is a
fabulous idea! i don't have ideas right now . . . but can i toss this
out at you?
what "artistic" activities do strong communities support? how do they
"artistically" (i only use that word to focus my mind on the artistic
rather than religious/social/econ aspects of festivals, though they all
connect) celebrate their unity? hmm . . .
Heidi Busse, <email@example.com>
* * * * *
I have am interested in incorporating art and ag in fact I submitted a
proposal two years ago to the Kellogg leadership program. I didn't get
accepted as a fellow but I at least got an interview. I will send this
to you if you like. I also put together an interactive art and Ag
display for last years SARE anniversary conference in Austin. We used
seeds and grains to creat a food mosaic piece. THis was a modification
that I use from an Eco Art curriculum I developed for PCEI. I have also
done some wearable sculpture and have ideas for more thqt have to do
with ag and food. I've been wanting to get back into my art. So if your
interested in doing something let me know. I think we could reach a
whole other audience other than the choir to get our message across.
Nancy Taylor, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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