Press Room: Resources for Media

Media Inquiries

Please contact:

Donna Neuwirth, Wormfarm Institute executive director
608-415-0347, donna@wormfarminstitute.org

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Photo opportunities abound during this visual and performing arts event complemented with hands-on classes. Contact us for additional images.

 

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Press Kit

To receive a press kit by postal mail with the 20-page event guide, an area map and booklet about Reedsburg, contact Donna Neuwirth.

Press Release

15,000 Expected For 2014 Fermentation Fest
Where Farm Fields Also Grow Art And Music

REEDSBURG, Wis., Aug. 6, 2014 — As farmers around Reedsburg, Wis., harvest crops this fall, professional artists from around the country, regional performers and community members will transform the working landscape into a lively, ephemeral outdoor Farm/Art DTour for the fourth-annual Fermentation Fest—A Live Culture Convergence, Oct. 4–13, 2014. Meanwhile, in this gigabyte city of 9,000 people in rural south-central Wisconsin—55 miles northwest of the state’s capital, Madison—chefs, scientists, brewers and cheesemakers will offer 44 classes and tastings about fermented foods, farming and the rural renaissance.

The multifaceted 10-day food and farming festival is “An opportunity for rural and urban visitors to explore in new ways the beautiful land that sustains us,” explains event organizer Donna Neuwirth, executive director of the Wormfarm Institute.

She anticipates the Fest will attract 15,000 people from the upper Midwest and beyond this year, after a record crowd of 12,000 from at least nine states attended in 2013, the event’s third year.

“Interest around the country is growing, for this event, for site-responsive public art and a renewed connection to where our food is grown,” Neuwirth noted. “This is a celebration of live culture in all its forms, from dance to yogurt, poetry to sauerkraut.”

People are primarily traveling for the Fest’s signature feature, the Farm/Art DTour, a free and interactive, 50-mile self-guided drive through working farmland punctuated by temporary art installations, pasture performances, field notes about agriculture, roadside stands and roadside poetry. Discover the DTour by car, buggy or bike, cue sheets and outfitters are available.

Expect to see giant straw animals, glowing corn cribs, crocheted plastic leaves engulfing a farmhouse, a mini circus wagon and sideshow encampment, and much more.

Some stops welcome you to participate or investigate. A labyrinth of corn to meander, a silage bag to paint, and the Taste Lab to investigate fermentation biology with microscopes, tasting and discussing. A large floating sculpture comes ashore on weekends to serve spring infusions made from glacial water and local produce.

As you wind through the natural amphitheatres of this driftless area you’ll encounter dancers, singers and original music performed, such as the third-annual D-Composition, A Concert on Oct. 11 at 4:00 p.m., where music mimics biology. Mixed in are: a homemade wine social, a quilt show with breakfast, fresh fry bread and tacos, gourmet sliders, pickles, cheese, chocolate, a chili supper and more.

Before departing on the DTour stop at the Reedsburg Area Chamber of Commerce to get a free 20-page event guide, DTour driving map and the daily specials of performances and food. The event guide is also available throughout the state.

Downtown Reedsburg hosts 44 weekend classes and tasting events about fermented food and drink (kimchi, yogurt, hard cider, chocolate, cheese, beer, bread, etc.), preserving the harvest, farming and more. Register for these online by Sept. 28 at www.fermentationfest.com.

Featured speakers Kirsten Shockey, John Greenler and Matthew Fluharty will offer interactive classes about fermenting food and energy, and rural art projects. Shockey of Applegate, Ore., is a homesteader, fermenter, teacher and author of the ust-released Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes For Fermenting 80 Vegetables And Herbs. She’ll conduct four classes Oct. 4–5 about safely fermenting seasonally available produce and forbs into krauts, preserves, pastes and relishes.

Greenler is the education and outreach director of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Oct. 11 he’ll discuss moving beyond corn and grain to make ethanol by fermenting plant materials into renewable energy as fossil fuel alternatives. Join his lively presentation to try fermenting fuel.

Fluharty, director of the Art Of The Rural, joins the Fest this year to celebrate the inaugural The Year Of The Rural Arts. Oct. 12 he’ll lead a panel discussion on thriving rural communities with Sarah Lloyd, dairy farmer, rural sociologist and Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative general manager; Curt Meine, conservationist, author and Aldo Leopold Foundation senior fellow; Stan Gruzsynski, U.S. Department of Agriculture Wisconsin director of rural development; and Jamie Bennett, director of ArtPlace America. This free presentation will highlight a new wave of contemporary artistic and social projects in rural communities throughout America that illustrate effective placemaking strategies along the rural-urban continuum.

Visit www.fermentationfest.com to view images of previous DTours, register for classes and tastings by Sept. 28, and find details to plan your trip.

Connect with Fermentation Fest on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FermentationFest and on Twitter @FermFest.

Fermentation Fest is an initiative of the Wormfarm Institute, a nonprofit organization that integrates culture and agriculture in Reedsburg. It collaborates with Sauk County U.W.-Extension, the Reedsburg Area Chamber Of Commerce, public partners and sponsors to host this celebration of farming, fermentation and culture.

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About Wormfarm Institute
The Wormfarm Institute is a nonprofit organization in Reedsburg, Wis., working to build a sustainable future for agriculture and the arts by fostering links between people and the land. An evolving laboratory of arts and ecology, and fertile ground for creative work, the Wormfarm explores the links between urban and rural communities within and beyond the food chain, creating opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. Learn more at www.wormfarmstitute.org.

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Calendar Listing
Fermentation Fest—A Live Culture Convergence, Oct. 4–13, 2014, Reedsburg, Wis. A multifaceted food and farming festival celebrating live culture in all its forms—dance to yogurt, poetry to sauerkraut. Featuring the 50-mile Farm/Art DTour—scenic farmland punctuated with temporary art installations—with pasture performances and more. Classes and tastings about fermented food and drink, farming and the rural renaissance. Explore, learn, taste and enjoy live culture. Learn more at www.fermentationfest.com.

Media Tip Sheet

Meet The Visual Artists
A six-member jury selected 11 professional artists who will build eight large-scale temporary art installations in farm fields, using inspiration from the region’s working landscape, geologic history, circus history and rural culture; folk-art traditions and the fermentation process. Contact us for the artists’ contact information. They are, following their stop numbers and installation titles:

Stop 2: Bubble Pub: Jenny Hale, Nevada City, Calif., and Gail Katz-James, Minneapolis, Minn., http://fermentationfest.com/dtour_artist/jenny-hale-gail-katz-james

Stop 5: Too Much Pig: Brian Sobaski, St. Paul, Minn., http://fermentationfest.com/dtour_artist/brian-sobaski

Stop 8: Sylvan Chapel: Peter Krsko, Washington, D.C., http://fermentationfest.com/dtour_artist/peter-krsko

Stop 11: Drift: Sara Black, Amber Ginsburg and Lia Rousset, Chicago, Ill., http://fermentationfest.com/dtour_artist/sara-black-lia-rousset-amber-ginsburg

Stop 22: A Call To Beauty: Mary Dickey, Roxbury, Wis., http://fermentationfest.com/dtour_artist/mary-dickey

Stop 34: Invasive Species: Isabelle Garbani, Brooklyn, N.Y., http://fermentationfest.com/dtour_artist/isabelle-garbani

Stop 38: Wonders At The Wayside–Circus Wagon And Sideshow Encampment: Erika Nelson, Lucas, Kan., http://fermentationfest.com/dtour_artist/erika-nelson

Stop 27: Taste Lab: Andrea Polli, Albuquerque, N.M., and her students from the University of New Mexico’s art and ecology program. http://fermentationfest.com/dtour_artist/andrea-polli-students-from-the-university-of-new-mexicos-art-ecology-program

The Performing Artists
Various 20-minute performances of music, dance and theatre occur both weekends on three unconventional stages in hay fields and cow pastures throughout the Farm/Art DTour. See Stops 7, 25 and 34.

In addition is the third-annual D-Composition, A Concert, a debut of original music that mimics biology, at St. Boniface Church in Lime Ridge, Wis., 11 miles southwest of Reedsburg, Oct. 11, 2014, at 4:00 p.m. Tickets at the door are $8.00. It is a premiere performance by composers Mike Bell, Geoffrey Brady, Lawton Hall and Amanda Schoofs of music that reworks or decomposes prior years’ compositions and draws inspiration from presentations on decomposition and renewal by several scientists and practitioners at the July 19, 2014 DeComposium.

Contact us for a list of individual performers and their schedules.

See a partial list of performers and links to their Web sites here http://fermentationfest.com/dtour_performers

The Year Of The Rural Arts 2014
In its inaugural year, this biennial program of events, conversations and online features celebrates ways rural places, art and culture contribute to American life while clarifying the conception of rural. The future sustainability of agriculture and community depend upon an exchange between rural and urban. This collaborative, grassroots initiative connects citizens, artists, scholars, designers and entrepreneurs to build an inclusive and engaged rural arts and culture network and dialogue.

Contact Matthew Fluharty, director of Art Of The Rural, at info@artoftherural.org and http://artoftherural.org.

Landowners And Farmers
Those providing space for the installations, farm forms and performances each have unique stories of how they steward the land. Farm operations hosting the DTour feature: grass-based and organic dairy, small and large dairy and beef, grain, meat goats, sheep, woodlots, wetland conservation, sunflowers and vegetable crops, and retired farmers focusing on wildlife habitat restoration. Contact us for more details.

Community Revitalization Through Creative Placemaking
The Wormfarm Institute’s work occurs across disciplines, connecting urban and rural, people and land, culture and agriculture. It serves as a national model for rural creative placemaking defined as asset–based community economic development with arts at its core. The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) describes the Institute’s award-winning work as an innovative rural-development strategy. For details contact Donna Neuwirth who can put you in touch with the USDA about this endeavor.

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