Wisconsin farming history exhibit tours the state
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Five farms across Wisconsin are being featured in a traveling exhibit as part of an effort to showcase the state’s diverse farming culture and history.
“The Lands We Share” exhibit backed by the University of Wisconsin has been touring the state since October, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. The exhibit , comprising oral histories, artifacts and images, will make its last stop in Madison on May 8.
The project features each farm for three weeks at a local venue, ending with a farm-to-table community dinner and discussion.
The five farms were chosen based on their backgrounds and focuses, including a Hmong-owned farm in Fort Atkinson, Vang C&C Farms, and an urban garden in Milwaukee, Metcalfe Park Legacy Garden.
“We’re at a time where people aren’t really talking to each other across regional and cultural, racial and ethnic divides,” said James Levy, the project’s director. “And we found that farming is a really great common ground.”
One theme that stuck out to Levy was how many farmers are refugees, or came from families of refugees, he said. Levy also directs the Public History Program at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Mike Dettmann’s Johnson Creek farm, Dettmann Dairy, was among those featured in the project. The family farm has been in operation since 1902 and has more than 500 dairy cows.
Dettmann said Wisconsin’s history of farming is at risk of disappearing with the dwindling number of family farms in the state.
“Growing up, you used to either be part of a farm or knew somebody that was, and that isn’t as true anymore,” Dettmann said.
The project was supported by four University of Wisconsin universities, grants and donations.
Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org