New Year, New Roots


Truth by Cathi Schwalbe, months after the 2011 Farm/Art DTour

What a start to the new year.


The U.S. House of Representatives has now twice-impeached the sitting president. However you feel about it, it’s hard to deny the ground is being turned over. Whether that’s a good or bad thing in your mind, it’s definitely a shock to the system.


With all that’s being uncovered, as the consequences of our polarized politics are on full display, we’re thinking of Cathi Schwalbe’s work from the very first DTour. The word truth was mowed into a green field at Luttropp Farm—beautiful, mysterious and subtle in the fall. But after the DTour, when the winter’s first snow filled the indentation, the word shone clear and stark in the dormant earth.


Truth can be like that: it can take time to see it.

Photo by Katrin Talbot

We raised more funds and collaborated with more partners than ever in 2020—and we shared that wealth with the artists, farmers, fermenters and producers who enrich our region. Your support is important in any year but it was “make-or-break” in 2020 as small businesses and artists took major hits from Covid-19. Thank you for your generosity and alignment.


We feel encouraged as we sow seeds for 2021. We’re planning a growing season of Test Plots—nimble, experimental programs that keep the field active. In agriculture, test plots are designated parts of a field where new crops are trialed to determine suitability for future use. This experimentation leads to new discoveries.

We're grateful this year for an ongoing exchange with Scenic Wisconsin who are dedicated to preserving and enhancing the scenic character of Wisconsin's communities and countryside. Like Wormfarm, they insist that attention be paid to rural places and the people who live here. Learn more about Scenic Wisconsin and consider becoming a member today.


From the beginning, Wormfarm’s work has been guided by metaphors of gardening, fermenting and decomposing. We know that collaborators meeting from unexpected corners grow amazing things together, that the right social probiotics transform community health, that decomposition feeds the next season’s growth.


Ongoing activations along the rural-urban continuum are especially important this year. Not only because they boost the health of our whole region, but because they have real-world impact in our civic lives. Cooking things up together begins to heal the divisions between us. That's when the good stuff happens: when we share mutual respect, reality, rapport and good reason to work together.


We wish you the best for 2021 and are grateful for each one of you.


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