"THE DAY IS COMING
WHEN A SINGLE CARROT,
WILL SET OFF A REVOLUTION."
That day is here
My journey to slow down, observe, and connect to food was sparked by creativity.
There was one negative 7 degree winter day in particular when I felt so lost it was as if I was spinning out of control. I took a drive to the middle of nowhere Minnesota, where I lived at the time. The frozen snow covered ground blended into an empty white sky.
The monotone landscape felt claustrophobic, bleak, and overwhelming. It was as if I was flying above myself to watch my life unfold in a direction that I didn’t desire. I felt completely ungrounded, stressed, and sick to my stomach. Tears streamed down my face as I grasped for answers that could bring me back to solid ground.
I so strongly wanted to feel happy, healthy, and aligned, but instead I felt completely stuck and confused. I didn’t get it! I was doing everything “right” by the books: I was exercising, and yet I still didn’t feel healthy. I was cooking at home, but I had lost complete connection with my body’s cues. It was as if I couldn’t even even hear my physical self anymore:
-I’d push myself too hard on a run when all my muscles really wanted was rest.
-I’d eat too much when all my body really wanted was a balanced meal.
-I’d have a beer when all my body really wanted was water.
I was so disconnected and couldn’t find my way back. When I returned home from that drive, I felt desperate to find balance, again. A voice popped into my head that said:
I sat down at my desk, opened up my computer, and pulled up an image of the first thing that came to mind:
I began to draw the corn, kernel by kernel. With each small piece, I felt my breath return to a steady pace, my anxiety subsided, and my tears stopped. This practice was so powerful that I still use it today to keep me grounded.
But then I moved to Northfield, a small farming town in Minnesota, to study art, and my eyes opened to the beauty of locally grown produce. I started eating more veggies because of their mesmerizing colors and patterns which kick-started my journey to a healthier life full of deep connection. I wanted to share the joys of this connection with community.
I brought produce into the art studio to create works that asked viewers, "What happens when we give as much reverence to food as we do to art?"
My projects include a dining room table in a gallery where I hosted locally sourced meals for community; an installation of soil on museum pedestals with a framed carrot on a white gallery wall; a three-month winter residency devoted to garlic; and countless illustrations and prints exploring the patterns of produce - a practice I continue today.
When I moved to New Mexico in 2016 after dreaming of living here since I was a kid, I started working with farmers at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market. I now work on two farms north of the city: Ground Stone Farm and Wildharber Farm.
My work in the fields has given me a grounded, unshakeable joy. This joy makes me giddy to share the beauty of local food because I know the peace and happiness that comes from connecting with our plate, our land, and our farmers.
Photo courtesy: Genevieve Russell for Squash Blossom Local Food Inc.