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When I Listened to a Farmer

Angie Mitchell

By Angie Mitchell

Wisconsin agriculture is highlighted in the new traveling gallery show titled, “A Life. From Dirt.,” which opened in July at Platteville’s Rountree Gallery. A Storyteller Reception is planned for 4-8 p.m. Aug. 7 in the Platteville City Park Gazebo located directly behind the Rountree Gallery.  

As a member of the Iowa-Grant Farmer’s Union and a garlic farmer, I was drawn to the optimistic resilience of Wisconsin farmers through Pete Curran’s stories on his Facebook page “When I Listened to a Farmer.” I also am a member and volunteer at the Rountree Gallery, so knowing that the Rountree Gallery had expressed interest in highlighting the stories of local farmers, I suggested that the Rountree Gallery and Pete should meet and might be good partners.  

Although Pete has spent only three years in agriculture, he’s been very successful at creating connections with the Wisconsin ag community through his photos and stories. When the Rountree Gallery saw Pete’s stories of the people who chose a career in Wisconsin agriculture, the gallery wanted the community to also see the men, women and families — who are struggling and also succeeding — and witness the honor, pride and resiliency of Wisconsin farmers.  

The show consists of 10 personal stories of Wisconsin ag families, united into one by a “floor story” around the perimeter of the gallery.  Visitors will see pictorial and written narratives of the farmers culminating in a show that is a celebration of the vibrancy of Wisconsin agriculture.  

IF YOU GO

What: “A Life. From Dirt.” Traveling Show

Where: Rountree Gallery, 120 W. Main St., Platteville

When: 4-8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 2, 2020. In addition, a Storyteller Reception is planned for 4-8 p.m. Aug. 7 in the Platteville City Park Gazebo located directly behind the Rountree Gallery.  

How: Masks and practicing social distancing are required when visiting the gallery.

For more information: See RountreeGallery.org

The Platteville Farmers Market is featured in one of the 10 stories to highlight the need for local food access, especially when national distribution channels are disrupted. Jenna Phillips is the manager of the Saturday farmers market and is featured in the show as a homesteader whose life became connected to the Platteville Farmers Market.

The exhibit is a “traveling show” and the Rountree Gallery will loan it to other organizations throughout the state.  The show is sponsored by the Mid-West Farm Report with Pam Jahnke along with other local and state sponsors including the Vale Foundation, Edward Jones Agent Bob Hundhausen, the Iowa-Grant Farmers Union, Inspiring Community, Wisconsin Farm Technology Days 2021 and host family business, Silver Spring Foods. In-kind sponsors include Morrissey Printing and the Driftless Market.

The Rountree Gallery is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to actively promoting the creation, appreciation, and education of visual arts in our community and surrounding area. We strive to make art accessible to the public by hosting quality exhibits, by acquiring and preserving ​our permanent collection and arts resource library, and by offering educational opportunities to all ages. 

The Rountree Gallery will require all patrons to wear a mask and practice social distancing when visiting.

Angie Mitchell is a garlic farmer, Rountree Gallery member and volunteer and an Iowa-Grant Wisconsin Farmer’s Union member who lives and farms at 3 Flat Acres in Lancaster. For more information, see RountreeGallery.org

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