Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 11, 2010.

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Industrial Harvest is a learn-by-doing experiment to discover how a Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures contract connects to real food & real people.

Industrial Harvest is an artistic gesture about nourishment, food systems, and the City of Chicago. It will start with the purchase of a 1000 bushel wheat futures contract on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange / Board of Trade, and the simultaneous delivery of 1000 bushels of actual commodity wheat. Most of the wheat will be milled into flour, some of it will be set aside in its original form. Then, I'll give it away, bit by bit, to people & organizations around Chicago & surrounding countryside:

- Large quantities of flour will be given to organizations that feed people as part of their mission (like food banks, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and schools).
- Small quantities of flour will be given to individuals or groups of individuals as part of events such as art shows, dinners, lectures, classes, panel discussions, etc. (pretty much any excuse we can think of for people can get together, eat, learn and discuss issues related to food).
- A small amount of wheat will be preserved as seed and planted as a winter crop in collaboration with farmers, community gardens, or home food growers.

This project entwines art and research, activism and commerce and uses all of these tactics to shed light on our food systems via the exploration of a single, industrially produced commodity - wheat, the most basic of ingredients and the first agricultural crop. It will also actually feed people!

I'm trying to raise $5,000 on Kickstarter to cover the costs of buying the wheat. Any amount raised over $5,000 will be used for other project costs (around $15,000 including the wheat itself), to pay for my time and living expenses while I'm in Chicago, and to pay a stipend to others who have volunteered their time to support this project. So far, I've spent the past 1 1/2 years and countless hours doing research and preparation for this project, including two artist residencies in Chicago. I could spend another year applying for grants, but I'm ready to do this now! I've had so much support for this idea from folks in the Chicago area (and beyond), and have several art shows and speaking engagements about the project scheduled this summer already.

To learn more, visit the project website: http://www.industrialharvest.com - if you're in Chicago, check out the website for how to participate!

If you'd like to see a full project budget or make an in-kind donation, tax-deductible or corporate matched donation, email me: sarah "at" industrialharvest "dot" com.

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  • Pledge $30 or more
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    6 backers

    A 5-lb bag of limited edition Industrial Harvest flour from the project. I will ship to backers outside the Chicago and Seattle metro areas; backers inside these areas will need to come pick it up at one of the project events. Your choice, all-purpose white unbleached or whole wheat pastry flour. Because I'm getting it from a gigantic grain elevator in Chicago, it will unfortunately not be organic, but it'll be made with love. You'll also be acknowledged on the project website.

  • Pledge $50 or more
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    7 backers

    A ten-pound bag of flour from the project (see specs above). I will ship to backers outside the Chicago and Seattle metro areas; backers inside these areas will need to come pick it up at one of the project events. You'll also be acknowledged on the project website.

  • Pledge $100 or more
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    3 backers

    Wholesale special! A 50-lb bag of Industrial Harvest flour (see specs above). This is a great way for bakeries and restaurants to get support the project. Create a special edition “artisan” bread, or integrate it into regular recipes. Greater Chicago and Seattle metro area backers only (we'll need to coordinate pickup / dropoff). You'll also be acknowledged on the project website.

  • Pledge $200 or more
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    1 backer

    Bakers' special! A limited-edition illustrated commemorative recipe booklet from the project, full of ideas and healthy, kitchen-tested recipes for cooking with wheat/flour. Includes baking tips, drawings, essays based on the project blog posts and other tidbits. Comes with 50 lbs of flour and includes acknowledgement in the booklet and on the project website. Flour delivery limited to Chicago & Seattle metro area donors.

  • Pledge $500 or more
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    3 backers Limited (2 left of 5)

    I'll cook up a vegetarian dinner for 4, including some item made with the flour from the project, and give a slideshow talk about the project afterwards. Includes your beverage of choice; limited to backers in Chicago and Seattle. Includes acknowledgement in the booklet and on the project website.

  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    An original framed 11 x 17 black & white ink drawing based on the drawings in the animation (you can choose from the waterfront hagglers, one of the historic Chicago grain elevators or from some of the sketches that were not used in the final animation; let's talk!). Comes with 5 lbs of flour and acknowledgement in the recipe booklet and on the project website.

  • Pledge $2,000 or more
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    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    A special field trip related to the project – perhaps you’d like to go with me to pick up the wheat at a gigantic grain elevator in Chicago, or perhaps you're interested in seeing the inside of a flour mill. IMPORTANT: If you want these rewards, speak up early! Wheat pickup and milling will happen in the last 2 weeks of June and I won't have total control over timing, so contact me if you have questions. Comes with 5 lbs of flour, and acknowledgement in the recipe booklet and on the project website.

Funding period

- (89 days)