THERE is a Lecture at this Farm once a month, at 7:30 pm. All attendees are welcome to PICNIC at the Farm from 6 o’clock until ten minutes before the lecture begins. The course for the present season, as far as ascertained, is as follows:
Thursday, May 23 (Introductory) — Josh Mabie, “Barn: An Agricultural History and a Manifesto”
Our barn has been used as a threshing floor, a dairy barn, a machine shed, a boat storage, and now a concert and lecture hall (with a bouldering wall in one back corner). My talk will use the barn where the Lyceum is held to reckon with the uneven past and uncertain future of small Wisconsin farms.
Thursday, June 6 — Cindy Crosby, “The Tallgrass Prairie: A Conversation”
Author of Chasing Dragonflies: A Natural and Cultural History (forthcoming 2020), Tallgrass Conversations: In Search of the Prairie Spirit (April 2019), and The Tallgrass Prairie: An Introduction
Thursday, July 18 — Kieran Furlong, “Technology and the Small Farmer”
Kieran grew up in a farming community in County Wexford, Ireland. Since moving to the U.S., he has been involved in several biotech and agriculture startups. Now he works at the UW’s Discovery to Product center helping researchers bring ideas and innovations to market. Kieran’s Lyceum talk will present ways that small farms can use technology to thrive.
Thursday, August 1 — Jeffrey Bilbro, “Wendell Berry and Environmental Hope”
Author of Virtues of Renewal: Wendell Berry’s Sustainable Forms (2018), Wendell Berry and Higher Education (2017)
Thursday, September 12 — Barrett Swanson, “The Soldier and the Soil”
Barrett’s writing has appeared in, among other places, The New Yorker, Harpers, The Paris Review, Orion, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and Best American Essays
Thursday, October 3 — Tiffany Eberle Kriner, “Field: A Report from Root & Sky Farm”
We have neither food nor liquor license, so the picnic will be entirely BYOP (Bring Your Own Picnic) and BYOB. If the weather is nice, we’ll picnic on the lawn in front of the barn. If we have rain, we can eat in the barn. We have a couple big tables for family-style picnicking, but if we run out of chairs and table space, we’d be grateful if people brought a blanket for the lawn. If you have lawn or folding chairs, we’d encourage you to bring them for the picnic and talk. We would love to have your paper packaging and vegetable food waste for our compost pile, but it will help us if you bring a bag to take your recyclables home.
About the Lyceum
The Lyceum is a series of monthly picnics and lectures at Pied Beauty Farm. With this series, we aim to organize a place where expert speakers spark interesting conversations about farming, food, environmental sustainability, and justice.
The name and inspiration for our Lyceum comes from the nineteenth-century Lyceums started by Connecticut farmer, schoolteacher, and scholar Josiah Holbrook. Holbrook believed that broad engagement with science, arts, letters, history, and philosophy could transform the young American republic, so he traveled around the country encouraging small towns to start lecture halls and laboratories where ordinary people could encounter extraordinary ideas. His Lyceum movement was wildly successful. Within just four years of convincing the citizens of Millbury, Massachusetts to start the first Lyceum in 1827, Holbrook encouraged 900 other towns to start their own.
Thoreau, Emerson, and Twain all tried out early drafts of some of their most famous works on the Lyceum circuit. For just two bucks you could have heard this 1842-1843 lineup at the Concord Lyceum. Ours is free, but it includes neither Emerson nor Thoreau.
May 10, 2018 (Introductory) Josh Mabie
“Can Farming Save the World?”
Probably not, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying. In the mid-nineteenth century, hundreds of New Englanders started and joined Utopian farms to combat the social ills they saw corrupting the American republic. Most of these farms fell short of the ambitious ideals they staked out. Many of them dissolved in bankruptcy or interpersonal squabbling. A few changed the way we think about the environment, our neighbors, and what a farm can be. This season’s introductory Lyceum talk will look at one of the most famous of these Utopian farming experiments: George and Sophia Ripley’s Brook Farm. The talk will consider the Ripley’s successes as inspiration and their failure as a cautionary tale for twenty-first century idealists and farmers.
June 14, 2018 Daegan Miller
“In Praise of Trespassing: or, Some Thoughts on the Value of Non-Connection”
July 26, 2018 Heather Swan
August 23, 2018 Jennifer Jordan **Rescheduled for October 18**
We have had to cancel Jennifer’s August 23 talk, but we have rescheduled it for Thursday, October 18. Come join us for an Oktoberfest-themed picnic and talk about Wisconsin hops!
September 13, 2018 Asmahan Sallah
October 18, 2018 Jennifer Jordan
We are so excited to welcome Dr. Jennifer Jordan to the farm for a talk about the history of Wisconsin brewing and hop cultivation. We’ve rescheduled her talk from September; in so doing, we’ve traded mosquitos for starlight, sweltering heat for a crisp fall night. It’ll be an Oktoberfest picnic and a beer talk. Come join the fun!
Dr. Jordan will join us to present portions of the new book she is working on called Before Craft Beer: The Lost Landscapes of Forgotten Hops. If you ask really nicely, I bet she would also take some questions about her first book Edible Memory: The Lure of Heirloom Tomatoes and Other Forgotten Foods.