Feeding Farmers Overview

Feeding Farmers was one of the most satisfying components of the Foodways: Madison project. We coordinated more than thirty pairings of area artists with local farmers, with the artists preparing meals for the farmers. The piece began with the simple image of reversing the usual flow of food, and then we realized that this was an opportunity to leverage our art community and our interest in local agriculture, including our decades of shopping at the Dane County Farmers Market. The meals happened in many ways, with artists adapting to the interests and needs of the growers. Some artists visited farms and cooked with farmer’s ingredients, while some others prepared simple and convenient meals that could be eaten at the market or carried home for later. While the project resulted in some beautiful documentation, we’re also very happy with simply on the conceptual and relational levels. Feeding Farmers also deepened our relationship with the farmers we know and led us to a lot of thinking about the similarities and differences among farmers and artists.

At these links, you will find pictures and descriptions associated with the Feeding  Farmers project.










Community Research Kitchen

In September and October of 2016, Spatula&Barcode were artists-in-residence at the Bubbler space in the central branch of the Madison Public Library. Our primary goal here was to engage the general public in discussions about how they understand food systems as personal, social, and global.  


To this end, we could be found on site up to twenty hours a week engaged in a number of different kinds of activities: cooking, eating, conversing, playing games, diagramming, reading, looking things up, sorting ingredients and re-arranging the space. Continue reading

More Artists Feeding Farmers in October


On 23 October, Sarah Khan made a meal of marinated chicken in a yogurt sauce, eggplant with onions and tomato, and garbanzos and purple potatoes in a tamarind sauce, yogurt with mint, and a spicy cilantro chutney all served with brown rice.  Present at at the farm were Gretchen Cruse and Richard Shuman of Hickory Hill Farm (Loganville) as well as Sarah Khan, Henry Drewal and Meeta Mastani.

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Sarah writes:

We arrived walked and talked on the land, met chickens, cats, geese, old farm equipment and new, and chatted away, learned of the 4-generation farm history, and the challenges of working an organic farm in the midst of non-organic ones. Gretchen’s parents’ tenacity and commitment to land conservation proved visionary…and Gretchen manages to carry on the tradition on nearly 200 acres.

Henry and Meeta, helped with all aspects of the dinner and presentation, and Gretchen created a beautiful outdoor table, and a roaring fire in a big metal caldron to allow us to sit outside till into the evening, contemplating our work, lives, stars and spirits…

On 28 October, Faisal Abdu’Allah cooked a traditional Jamaican soup for Mike and Jean Martin (and guest Andrew Salyer) at Jones Valley Farm in Spring Green.


On 22 October, Justin Bitner and Angela Johnson fed Dave and Barb Perkins at Vermont Valley Community Farm (Black Earth). Here is the blog post they created about their experience.

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When we were asked to be a part the project Feeding Farmers by Spatula Barcode there was no hesitation with a response. Yes! Yes! Yes! The project involves community, food and Art. When deciding who to feed it was easy for us to choose; Angela and I have been members of a CSA called http://vermontvalley.com for six years. It took this project to make us realize we had no idea who was filling our stomachs and providing community with fresh local produce.


The weekend after we accepted the invitation we were scheduled to be at the farm and attend a scheduled tomato pick they have at the end of very season; this is one of the many community events they host during the CSA season (pumpkin pick, pesto party…). We went a bit early so we could introduce the project and ourselves to see if they were willing to participate.

The owners…

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