Vermont Arts Council

The People’s Choice Award: Cecily Anderson

3: Cecily Anderson

Climate Farmer Stories Project

Create portraits of diverse “Climate Farmers” for exhibition and inclusion in a book about climate farming in Vermont

I am a print-maker, illustrator and graphic designer. I am also a climate activist and farmer fan-girl. Since 2009 I have been using design and illustration to help nonprofits (and quite a few farmers) move audiences to action. My art typically centers the human figure to convey joy in the natural world or to communicate the human struggle for dignity and justice.

Project description

Some farmers in Vermont are taking direct action on climate change, using their land to draw down carbon and make their farms more resilient. The portraits will celebrate these innovative growers and tell the public their stories.

Background: Industrial farming is a top source of climate pollution, and threatens our long term food security through soil loss. Scientists estimate that with current rates of soil loss, most of American farmland has fewer than 60 harvests left. But agricultural land presents a vast opportunity to safely sequester carbon from the atmosphere in the soil, rebuilding soil health and making our land and food systems more resilient in the face of climate change.

Using art and storytelling to engage people, the project will teach folks about how agriculture impacts the climate and our food security — for better or for worse. My medium is digital illustration, so the art will be produced as durable printed displays combined with text that will be shown in non-art venues, such as schools, libraries, and supermarkets.

The portraits will also be added to artwork and text developed for an Upper Valley-focused Climate Farmer Stories Project I spearheaded in 2022 to create a Climate Farmer Stories book including diverse farmers from around the state, including its most populous region, around Burlington, and southern Vermont. The book will include farmer reflections, essays about regenerative agriculture, easy-to-understand explanations of the science underlying climate farming, and tips for growing a climate friendly garden at home.

Media Sample 1

Cedar Circle Farm and Education Center. “This shows similar style and content to the art I would like to create. This one will be exhibited with text about roots and the soil microbiome.”

Media Sample 2

Winter Street Farm. “This has similar style and content to the art I would like to create.”

Media Sample 3

Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm. “Similar style and content to the art I want to create. This might be used to illustrate the importance of biodiversity in creating sustainable farms.”

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Desmond Peeples June 29, 2023