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“The Lands We Share” traveling exhibit gives a voice to the rich history and diversity of Wisconsin’s farmers

December 03, 2018

Six diverse farm sites from around the state are featured in an interactive traveling exhibition designed to engage public dialogue and community engagement.

“The Lands We Share” tour began Oct. 10, 2018, in Oshkosh and runs through May 8, 2019, including stops on the Oneida Reservation, in rural Jefferson County, and in Milwaukee. The exhibition is showing at the Hoard Museum in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, through Jan. 2, 2019, and features a Community Dinner on Dec. 13. A final gala in Madison on April 19, 2019, will celebrate the tour.

The traveling exhibit is an initiative of the Wisconsin Farms Oral History Project, a collaboration of four UW System campuses (Whitewater, Madison, Oshkosh and Milwaukee) that focuses on the intersection of farming, land, race and ethnicity in Wisconsin. Community conversations in each town along the way will help frame the experience.

“Our goal is to bring people and groups from diverse backgrounds together who are often separated despite living and working in the same towns or regions,” said James Levy, associate professor of history at UW-Whitewater and the project director of “The Lands We Share.” “We hope that participants will identify common interests and discuss shared community visions by drawing on shared personal or family experiences on the land, in farming or with food.”

The traveling exhibit places a special emphasis on the urban-rural divide in Wisconsin, and aims to connect people more generally across the state by highlighting common connections to farming and the land, both now and in the past. Local farms, food-related businesses, agricultural agencies and cultural organizations in each region, urban and rural, are serving as partners on the project.

In northeast Wisconsin

1. The Oneida Nation Farm in Seymour, originally founded in 1978, which includes an active farm, 4-H youth club, and farmers’ market.
2. The Allen Family Farm, established by white settlers in the mid-19th century that works closely with migrant and immigrant workers of predominantly Mexican and Hmong descent.

In Jefferson County

3. The Vang C&C Farm, the first Hmong farm to be organically certified in the state of Wisconsin.
4. Dettmann Dairy Farms in Johnson Creek

In Milwaukee

5. The Metcalfe Park Community Garden, which serves predominantly African-American residents.
6. The Walker’s Square Farmers’ Market in the Walker’s Point neighborhood which works closely with the CORE/El Centro program in the area to serve Latino community members.