Scott Barton: The Garden Project: Imagining Eliza and Lizzie

Lynden Project July—First Weekend_2
Ninety three-year-old Mr. Williams at Alice’s Garden, directing the planting of peanuts in his “Forever Garden” plot.

Chef and food scholar Scott Barton first came to Lynden in the fall of 2016 to participate in Eliza's Cabinet: History, Objects, and the Black Imagination, a symposium that examined artist Folayemi Wilson’s project on Lynden’s grounds, Eliza’s Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities. He returned in the summer of 2017 to meet with artist-in-residence Portia Cobb, who was developing Rooted: The Storied Land, Memory, and Belonging, a garden and performance project, in response to Eliza’s Cabinet. Barton, Cobb, and choreographer Reggie Wilson spent time exploring Milwaukee’s communal gardens and farmers markets as they discussed the Diasporic foodways illuminated by Cobb’s garden, which embodies the memory of foodways that survived slavery in the South Carolina Sea Islands. (Cobb and artist-in-residence Arianne King Comer are engaging local food knowledge by gathering recipes and oral histories for a community-produced, resist-dyed cloth cookbook.)

Barton returns to Lynden in 2018 for several weekends to work with Cobb and other Call & Response artists on a project that continues to explore Diaspora legacies through food and foodways.

In Barton’s first mini-residency, July 14-15, 2018, he and Cobb engage a small group of elders in discussions about land, gardening, migration, and food. Together they will share recipes, prepare foods, and preserve vegetables from Lizzie’s Garden. Some of these activities will be open to the public (see below), and others will be documented in videos that will be shared at a future date.

Barton will return in the harvest season to prepare a storymeal from Lizzie’s Garden. Working with local youth, Barton will share knowledge about foodways and food preparation while engaging participants in the narrative created by the meal. Okra dishes--okra soup/soup i kanya, or gumbo/calalu/caruru—may feature prominently.

Public Activities

Saturday, July 14, 2018
10:30-11:30 am - A Garden and Culinary Conversation with Our Elders
Chef and food scholar Scott Barton and artist-in-residence Portia Cobb talk story about the land and Lizzie by taking you on a tour of Lizzie’s Garden and Eliza’s Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities. Then, joined by local elders on the porch of the cabinet, Cobb and Barton lead an informal discussion about gardening, migration, and Diaspora legacies through food/foodways.

3:15-4 pm - Food Tasting and Informal Storytelling
Stop by before Kavon Cortez Jones’s Performance on the Porch to taste the fruits of the day’s preserving and share stories about food and foodways. Bring your recipes and food traditions for okra, cabbage, collard greens, tomato, cucumber, cowpeas, peppers, herbs, sweet potato, or peanuts (goobers)—the vegetables growing in Lizzie’s Garden.

Sunday, July 15, 2018
2-3 pm - Vegetable Preserving Demo
Scott Barton demonstrates a preserving technique for vegetables from Lizzie’s Garden.

3-4 pm - Food Tasting and Informal Storytelling
Taste, talk, share stories and recipes for okra, cabbage, collard greens, tomato, cucumber, cowpeas, peppers, herbs, sweet potato, or peanuts (goobers)—the vegetables growing in Lizzie’s Garden.

About Scott Barton

Scott Alves Barton had a 25-year career as an executive chef, restaurant and product development consultant, and culinary educator before receiving a Ph.D. in Food Studies from New York University in 2016. He is a fellow in the Instituto Sacatar, and Fundação Palmares in Brazil, the Tepoztlán Institute for Transnational History of the Americas in Tepoztlán in Mexico, and Dr. Hortense Spillers’s Issues in Critical Investigation at Vanderbilt University that promotes new African Diasporic scholarship. His research, films, and publications focus on the intersection of secular and sacred cuisine as a marker of identity politics, feminine agency, cultural heritage, political resistance, and self-determination in Northeastern Brazil. He teaches at New York University and Queens College.

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