Artistic / by Karie Luidens


Farming is analytical, yes—scientific. But it’s as much art as science. As food activist Mark Winne writes, 

The farmer’s passion, rarely expressed in other than a taciturn fashion to the outsider, can be apprehended in the way their eyes assess the landscape, not unlike the way a painter imagines translating that landscape’s colors and shapes to a canvas. The farmer will gently manipulate the terrain with tractor and implements, drawing on mental records of other portions of the field, soil types, and drainage. The land and changing light give the farmer his palette. “Doing contours,” as Robin [Chesmer of Farmer’s Cow farm] called it, “over the fields, alternating hay with corn with fallow earth; finding the right shape and pattern across slopes is as much an artistic expression as it is a means to control runoff and erosion.” (Food Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin’ Mamas p 94)