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Farming as Making Making as connection

For this project I explored farmers as makers, specifically my partner Cranford and our journey farming together. This book tells a story of queer southern farmers, of making, of work, of success, of failure, of connection, and of growth.

I carved out the book, lined it with plastic, and planted some rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan), one of our favorite flowers.

Farming cannot be divorced from making. To grow food also means being a plumber, electrician, builder, mechanic, and inventor.

But what about the food part? As a farmer, does Cranford believe they are “making” vegetables? And to that they answered emphatically “no”, they are not solely responsible. Rather they are making in tandem with nature. “As a farmer I am making an environment for natural processes to thrive and creating the right conditions for nature to create the food”

making the conditions: amending the soil with minerals, compost, and cover crop to grow delicious and beautiful crops

Farming/making involves iteration, failure, creation, destruction, frustration, bounty, celebration, love, loss, collaboration, processes, luck

Making as Connection: Beyond the Physical

I used the circuit playground express to give a magical feeling to the book. I coded the fading light to start when you open the book and turn off when it is closed. I also chose colors to represent different elements that are always at the forefront of farming - water, sun, earth, minerals, and air.

I designed a laser cut to fit into the book that mimicked the quilt square at the farm that our friends and family painted.

making connections: spending time with friends, family, chosen family, customers, animals

Making as Connection to Identity

I folded paper to make little envelopes for seeds, including kale, stokes aster, zinnias, and rudbeckia. Each envelope has a quote from a queer southerner. I want users to be able to take something physical from the book, and start their own making process.

Queer Southern Folklore: plant queer southern stories, tend them, fertilize them, grow them, help them thrive, consume them, compost them into something new.

Photograph by Lilian Burke

Farming for us was gratifying because we were growing food for people and nourishing them. Making our vegetables into delicious meals and preserving them, and knowing that others were doing the same, brought us so much joy. Is that not such a wonderful example of making?

Photograph of Warbler Creek Farm by Mathew Tharakan

Except where noted, all photographs by Jess Epsten or Cranford Burke

Created By
Jess Epsten
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