Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 19

The garden is doing so well. I am already harvesting arugula, mesclun greens, spinach and radishes. I will have peas soon. The 6 tomato plants are almost 3' tall. I also have zucchini, yellow squash, onions, garlic, beans, chives, watermelon, cantaloupe, corn, peppers, pak choi, cucumbers, potatoes and wild strawberries. I get tired just thinking about all those vegetables to take care of.

Plant It Forward-the starving artist project

Plant It Forward-the starving artist project is a multi-dimensional, inter-disciplinary project which examines a sustainable, agricultural practice as it relates to the barter system, while referencing the patron/artist relationship. None of thee practices or systems are new ideas; however, considering the state of the world today, I feel it is time to revisit these concepts and see if they can function together in the modern world.
Plant It Forward is about establishing community, while reconnecting with our earth. In the process, we create art by working in the gardens and transforming the landscape. The initial transformation was that of a typical backyard into a sustainable agricultural practice. The transformation continues as the day-to-day gardening practice creates an ever-changing canvas. Working together in the garden, the artists learn about sustainable agriculture, forge relationships with fellow artists and depart happily with a bagful of vegetables, fruit and herbs. My hope is that this project will promote a dialogue between and among artists, audiences, and their communities, about getting involved in their own cultivation, buying locally produced fruits and vegetables and starting community gardens. Future plans involve distributing food to neighboring communities and educating youth on sustainability.
Five large gardens have been created around my home, replacing flowerbeds and lawns, in order to plant vegetables and herbs. Everything is done with sustainability in mind. No harmful pesticides or herbicides are used. The soil has been amended with compost and manure, and continues to be amended with nutrients depending on the needs of the vegetables being cultivated and the condition of the soil. Whenever possible, recycled materials are used. A compost tumbler makes new compost from yard waste and vegetable leftovers. A drip, soaker-hose system makes watering more efficient and cost-effective. All vegetables are cultivated from organic seed, except for the wild strawberries, which came from the forest.
The barter system works as follows: Artists work in the gardens for one to two hours in exchange for a recycled bag of whatever produce is ready to be harvested. In essence the artists become and help create the art project. Each artist signs the Plant It Forward Artist Journal, documenting his or her experience. If an artist does not want to work in the garden, he/she can barter other skills necessary for the project in exchange for food. Finally, a harvest dinner will take place in the fall.