Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gleaning and Resistance

There is a stout history in the US and in Western Art (more generally) of romanticizing agricultural or "peasant" labor. A prime example is Millet's painting The Gleaners (shown here extra pixelated for your pleasure). The image originally drew French attention to the backbreaking labor of scavenging for agrarian leftovers. Once imported to the United States, it became shorthand for pastoral fantasy, the issue of bodies, power, inequality, and labor lost to the commercialized reproduction of the image

I believe similar glossing over is a threat to any good and measurable progress that the myriad local/sustainable/just food movements would make. With that in mind I was pleased to find this online journal, The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. If that's not conversational fodder for the best dinner party ever (and several PhD dissertations) I don't know what is!

This article in particular, a conversation between  Hynden Walch of the Hillside Produce Cooperative and Asiya Wadud of Forage Oakland, really got my heart pumping in a good way. Raised some good questions (for me) too.

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