About the Wormfarm Institute



Fermentation Fest – A Live Culture Convergence is brought to you by the Wormfarm Institute with the help of many partners, funders, sponsors and friends.

Wormfarm is a Wisconsin-based nonprofit organization founded in 2000 by Jay Salinas and Donna Neuwirth. The name is inspired by a quote from Charles Darwin’s book The Formation of Vegetable Mold through the Action of Worms, “Every grain of soil has passed at least once through the gut of an earthworm”.

An evolving laboratory of the arts and ecology, Wormfarm explores the links between urban and rural communities within and beyond the food chain, creating opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and fertile ground for creative work. With the mission to integrate culture and agriculture, Wormfarm’s work brings together farming, ecology and the arts to rekindle the cultural and enhance the economic possibilities of our region while celebrating its unique natural and human history.

Through the foundational artist residency program, each growing season artists and writers from around the country come to get dirty, eat well, and make art. While many residencies act as retreats, the Wormfarm offers an engagement in the life of a working farm. Out of these seasonal infusions, grounded in the most fundamental of activities — farming — other programs have evolved, ranging from the Re-Enchantment of Agriculture to giant puppet festivals to the annual Fermentation Fest.

Roadside Culture Stands tangibly unite art and farming. The artist-built mobile farm stands may vend fresh local produce, as well as the work of regional artists, while directing visitors to other cultural happenings. They come together at existing food-and-farming events in a caravan or ”Food Chain”, creating a vibrant marketplace of food, art, and ideas.

Just as the word culture is embedded in agriculture, so is cultural expression itself deeply embedded within our landscapes and our ways of deriving our livings from it.  We believe the emotional power of the arts brings to the sustainability conversation the complexity and context the subject requires.  For thousands of years farmers in cultures around the world interwove dance, music, and art through rituals of planting and the harvest in celebration of the land and those who care for it.  Through a contemporary approach and within this timeless context, we continue that tradition.

More information here.

Matthew Fluharty – Changing the Face of Rural

TEDx Talk “Changing the Face of Rural” features the Wormfarm Intitute. Matthew Fluharty, Executive Director of Art of the Rural, is the son of a fifth-generation Ohio Valley farming family and serves on Wormfarm Institute’s Board of Directors.