FOODshed: Art and Agriculture in Action

An exhibition of upstate/downstate NY artists who work with food and agriculture
Curated by Amy Lipton, ecoartspace
92 Plymouth Street at Washington
Brooklyn, NY 11201
June 7 to July 27, 2014
Opening reception: Saturday, June 7, 5pm-8pm

FOODshed: Agriculture and Art in Action focuses on sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurship, and artists' use of food as subject matter or medium. The exhibition and programming include 14 exhibiting artists in the gallery at Smack Mellon, 3 public projects in the nearby DUMBO community, as well as public workshops in collaboration with the artists in the exhibition. The gallery exhibition features artworks and inventive projects around agriculture and food that address farming as both activism and art form. Many of the artists in this exhibition are known for bringing community-specific issues into their work and are exploring the real-world implications of small-scale farming and raising community awareness about our food systems. Their varied practices include growing food, cooking food, raising animals for food, and engaging communities around local food production as well as instigating new artist-based economies. 

The artists working in New York State today in the realm of food and farming coincide with a larger cultural awakening regarding the ills of our present system, such as the distances food travels to supermarket shelves and the effects of shipping and transport on climate change. Brooklyn has become the epicenter for food activism and culinary explorations. Artists have joined food activists in focusing on environmental problems such as lack of biodiversity in mono-cultural farms, the loss of top soil and nutrient-poor soil, the abuse and poor conditions of feedlot and factory raised animals, the conversion of farmland into housing, and the waste of un-harvested crops. Artists are now farming not only to raise their own food in order to become self-reliant and to eat more healthily, but also to offer alternative and sustainable approaches within their local communities. 

For the artists in FOODshed, the acts of cultivation, growing, and by implication educating have evolved to a deeper level of activism where the boundaries of real world and art completely disappear. Their projects present new paradigms regarding the growing, production, distribution and consumption of food. The artists in this exhibition advocate for an organic, regional and local approach, which they are manifesting in their own lives.

Patricia Watts, founder of ecoartspace who curated Hybrid Fields in 2006 will moderate FOODprint, a panel discussion on food and climate to investigate the current national debate about our food systems and the intersection of farming, culture and climate as it relates to the Upstate/NYC focus of the FOODshed exhibition. Panelists: Jennifer Grossman, Famer/NRDC Food Systems Advocate; Ben Flanner, Farmer, Brooklyn Grange; Josh Morgenthau, Farmer and Entrepreneur Good Eggs; Linda Weintraub, Artist/Writer; Tattfoo Tan, Artist; John Gorzynski, Farmer, Gorzynski Ornery Farm.

FOODshed will offer workshops at Smack Mellon in collaboration with the artists in the exhibition and With Food in Mind, a nomadic organization operating at the intersection of food, visual culture, and social change that develops drop-in workshops, afterschool classes, and other educational programs that dynamically combine art and food. Check the Smack Mellon website for further information on workshops here.