Rachel Luster, founder of the Oregon County Food Producers' and Artisan Co-op, said at a Jan. 28 meeting that the group was one of 100 chosen from across the country to receive the pop-up art show, actually a collection of photographs depicting food producers practicing ecologically-friendly methods.
Sponsored by Consolidated Graphics, the Lexicon of Sustainability Project will send 24 large prints, about 2 feet by 3 feet in size, on heavy card stock to the food producers' co-op, which will then display the prints at area events. The shows are intended to spur dialog about how people can have a positive impact on their local food systems.
Luster was among community leaders, students, farmers, activists, gardeners and cooks from across the country who applied to be curators for the project, the first of its kind.
According to the Lexicon of Sustainability website, "Our culture is at a crossroads. We live in a world of limited resources, and for the first time, people are searching for new ways to live more sustainably."
The challenges are many, according to Lexicon. The obstacles include consumers lacking knowledge to make informed food-buying decisions, teachers without appropriate classroom tools, farmers without information and solutions to meet market challenges and communities that need help building local food systems.
The photo collages were a two-year project by Douglas Gayeton and Laura Howard, who traveled the country to speak to and photograph the foremost practitioners of sustainability in food and farming.
Luster said the art show is another opportunity to improve the local food system by making people aware of the need to do so. The show will make its debut at the April 21-22 Go Green Festival in Thayer. It then will be displayed three weekends in May at Juggbutt's Coffee House in Alton.
Luster said the co-op still is searching for a suitable building to begin a food producers' and artisan market, which will become the permanent home for the art show.
Having one place for consumers to buy locally grown produce and other items, will increase sales, Luster said. Now, many farmers and artisans throughout the county are selling goods from their property.
"This is a way for us to do things collectively," Luster said.
The market also would have a directory of producers selling such things as raw milk or meat that cannot be sold at markets.
During the two-hour meeting at Juggbutt's, Luster also presented information on the National Grange Order of the Patrons of Husbandry, the oldest agricultural society in the country. Luster said a chapter can be formed locally if at least 15 prospective charter members sign up. More information will be presented at the February meeting.
Those interested in becoming a Grange member can reach Luster at 417-280-1633 or email@example.com.