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Site plans for Jordan Weber’s Prototype for poetry vs rhetoric (deep roots). Courtesy of Aune Fernandez Landscape Architects.

Walker Art Center Commissions Jordan Weber to Create Community Farm

The Walker Art Center has announced that it will break ground next week on a new public art project, an urban farm equipped with a rain garden, fruit trees, and raised vegetable beds. Titled Prototype for poetry vs rhetoric (deep roots), the commission by the Des Moines–based artist Jordan Weber was developed in partnership with the Brooklyn-based, education-focused nonprofit Youth Farm over the course of a year.

Weber came up with the idea to build a farm during his tenure as an artist-in-residence at the Walker in 2019. He has since participated in various meetings and local events with artists, activists, residents, and organizations to assess the local community’s needs. As a result, the project will feature fresh pollution-mitigating plants, which will filter stormwater runoff from nearby industrial sites; areas for the planting and cultivating of fresh produce, which will be made available to residents; and a community gathering table, which will serve as a space for reflection, meditation, and respite.

The garden will be located in a former vacant lot at Lyndale Avenue North between Twenty-Third and Twenty-Fourth Streets in Minneapolis and will be designed to look like a basketball court. Two metal hoop sculptures by Weber will be positioned at both ends of the urban farm and will function as instruments to collect rainwater. The artist will work with paid contractors sourced by Youth Farm and overseen by landscape architecture firm Aune Fernandez to realize the project, which will be staggered throughout 2020 and 2021 and will launch officially in the summer of 2021.

Prototype for poetry vs rhetoric (deep roots) acts as a counter tactic to industrial violence upon biodiverse lands and racially diverse communities,” said Weber. “Deep roots is direct action in the form of sustainable land revitalization that re-constructs, replants, and recontextualizes community space within a heavily polluted urban ecosystem. This project also pays homage to generations of North Minneapolis environmental and social justice activists that have guided every step to help us self-heal land in order to self-heal our bodies.”

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