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Industrial Harvest is an artistic gesture of Herculean proportions about nourishment, food systems, and the City of Chicago by Seattle artist and urban planner Sarah Kavage.

Since 2008, I have been exploring the world of commodities trading and its influence on Chicago's history, farming, and what we eat. In the summer of 2010, I temporarily relocated to Chicago, inserting myself into this system in a learn-by-doing experiment to discover how an abstract "wheat futures" contract connects to real wheat, real food and real people.

This intervention began with the purchase of a futures contract for 1000 bushels of wheat on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT).  1000 bushels is the smallest futures contract available on the CBOT but that's 30 tons of wheat - more than a semi-load.  I also bought 1000 bushels of real wheat at a grain elevator in Indiana and had it milled into flour (it made about 20 tons).  I brought the whole truckload back to Chicago and gave it away to nourish people.  

All 20 tons of flour has been given away or spoken for.  Thanks to the many people and organizations who participated in the project or lent their support!

Did you take home some flour?  Go here for further instructions (they're simple, I swear).


The Details

Some more background
Who's Involved
Participants & Supporters
Participate / Support / Donate

Martha Bayne wrote a fabulous feature article on the project for the Chicago Reader.
Flickr group pool


Wheat penny bread medallion, Aug. 2010

Industrial Harvest is an associated program of Shunpike.

Shunpike is a 501(c)(3) non-profit art service organization whose mission is to strengthen the Seattle arts community by partnering with small and mid-size arts groups to develop the business tools they need to succeed. Working in close partnership with these groups, Shunpike helps solve problems quickly and impart vital skills in finance, organizational management and arts administration.