Photo credits, from top:  (a) Novella Carpenter, (b) Farm City book (c) okanomodé © Naomi Campbell, (d) Eddie Hill © Della Chen/Edible Seattle, (e) Maria Elena Rodriguez, (f) Rev. Robert Jeffrey, (g) Rosy Smit, (h) Erick Haakenson, (i) Sean Conroe.

All images courtesy of their respective subjects, and © their respective subjects unless otherwise noted.



ART+AGRICULTURE #2: Thursday, April 28



with musical guest



Rev. Robert Jeffrey (Clean Greens)

Eddie Hill (GroundUp)

Maria Elena Rodriguez (Community Alliance for Global Justice)

Erick Haackenson (Jubilee Farm)

Rosy Smit (21 Acres)

Sean Conroe (Alleycat Acres)


Thursday April 28 7:00 PM

Washington Hall 153 - 14th Ave (map)

tickets: $10/ $7 advance

Big thanks! to:

The Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs for supporting the artists.

University Bookstore, Stesha Brandon and their awesome staff for selling books.

Monica Profitt and The Living Room for awesome support with the bar.

Nell and the Central Co-op for generous help with refreshments.


The event is the second in a series presenting information and inspiration about food and food production.

This program, on Urban Farming, will feature author and farmer Novella Carpenter, along with topical performance by okanomodé (a.k.a. SoulChilde BlueSun).

Following Novella's reading and okanomodé's performance will be a group discussion on Urban Farming, Food Justice, and the intersection of creativity and change, led by Eddie Hill of GroundUp, Seattle Tilth, and Creatives 4 Community.

The event will also include an "Urban Ag Bazaar" (with various organizations including Seattle Tilth's Garden Hotline, the Central Co-op, Seattle Urban Farm Co-op, Jefferson Park Food Forest, and others) and beer, wine, and healthy treats for sale.

Says director Bob Redmond: "We need to use both sides of our brain to address some of these problems effectively. Plus, it's very depressing to learn about our food, water, and atmosphere in peril--the arts can actually inspire people to work on creative solutions. Art makes a cause into a movement, and movements change the world."



Alleycat Acres is a volunteer-run effort to farm the cityscape, especially on its abandoned or unused lots. According to founder Sean Conroe, Alleycat enables anyone to participate in "Farming 2.0": cultivating food, relationships, and a connection to our land in an urban setting. With 200 volunteers, Alleycat operates two public gardens and is working on more.



Novella Carpenter

Carpenter, who used to raise bees on her porch on Beacon Hill, moved to Oakland in 2001 to study under Michael Pollen at UC Berkeley. Her beekeeping operation expanded into chickens, rabbits, pigs, and more, an adventure she chronicles in her bestseller FARM CITY.

A child of back-to-the-land hippies, Carpenter grew up in Idaho and Washington State, and majored in Biology and English at the University of Washington. Along with her current work as a freelance journalist and writer, she has also been an assassin bug handler, book editor, media projectionist, and hamster oocyte collector. 


Toting the super-hero swag of Grace Jones and Isaac Hayes, the sensuality of Minnie Ripperton and Marvin Gaye, the iconic glam of Josephine Baker and Prince, and the galactic style of Labelle and Parliament Funkadelic, okanomodé redefines genre and gender.

The alter-ego of performance artist SoulChilde BlueSun, okanomodé is a regularly featured vocalist for deep-house diva Nadirah Shakoor and has shared the stage with artists Yahzarah, Choklate, Ursula Rucker, Osunlade, Digable Planets, and Janelle Monae.

He has been featured vocalist and writer for numerous projects including the free jazz ensemble "Threat Of Beauty" (Evan Flory-Barnes), Funk/Afro-Carribean band Big World Breaks, and the New Seattle Brass Ensemble with Ahamefule J. Oluo. He is the writer of "luci's lamb," a post-punk epic faerie tale re-imagining the relationship between Jesus & Lucifer (co-composed with Ahamefule J. Oluo). 

Rev. Dr. Robert Jeffrey

In 2007, longtime church leader, civil rights activist, and community organizer Dr. Jeffrey started the Clean Greens Project, a 22-acre chemical-free farm in Duvall, WA. The farm employs people from the African-American community and produces healthy vegetables to sell at low cost in order to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

A member of Regional Food Policy Council, Dr. Jeffrey has always been a community leader, serving on the Governor Gregoire's transitional team and on numerous boards including those of the Boys and Girls Club of Seattle, the Church Council of Greater Seattle, and Washington State SANE/Freeze. In 1988, Pastor Jeffrey founded the Black Dollar Days Task Force (BDDTF), a non-profit organization committed to facilitating economic self-sufficiency for inner-city African Americans.

Rev. Jeffrey has received numerous awards including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award and the W.E.B. Dubois Talented Tenth Award.

Eddie Hill

The founding Director of Creatives4Community, Hill has worked locally and nationally to influence local green policies and practices, and to help drive diversification of urban agriculture, urban planning and community food systems development in the Northwest. He is currently managing 62 youth and 14 staff in four programs providing an introduction to urban agriculture and urban ecology as well as stewarding over 12 acres of urban land.

With a team of other professionals, Hill started a successful urban sustainability certification program serving Seattle teens in Seattle called GroundUp Organics. GroundUp operates an organic farm at Yesler Terrace and has helped broker community land use agreements with local agencies for increased organics composting and food production in the Central and Southend of Seattle. 

Hill serves on City planning and policy committees, works to create green employment opportunities, speaks on green jobs equity and carbon neutrality, and is helping to connect and weave together regional public, private, and non-profit entities into a “net that helps catch those that are falling between the cracks” in the evolving green sustainability and food movements. 

Maria Elena Rodriguez

A graduate of the University of Washington, Rodriguez served as the Community Alliance for Global Justice's (CAGJ) Food Justice Project Co-Coordinator. While there, she co-directed the creation of CAGJ’s first publication, Our Food, Our Right: Recipes for Food Justice (2009).

The book is a hands-on guide and recipe book that engages people in the struggle for food justice both locally and globally. Rodriguez is currently assisting with the production of a second expanded edition. 

Rodriguez became involved with CAGJ because she was inspired by the work being done surrounding issues of access to food within anti-oppressive, anti-racist, and food sovereignty frameworks. She currently works in the non-profit hunger relief field and volunteers with Lettuce Link and Marra Farm, distributing seeds and gardening information at food banks and growing organic vegetables for food bank clients.

Rosy Smit

Rosy Smit grew up on a dairy farm and has always worked in agriculture, mostly organic. A recent Canadian transplant to Seattle, she was an environmental farm planning advisor in British Columbia, started the University of British Columbia farm (specifically the market garden at UBC Farm) and has two degrees in soil science. Since June of 2010 Rosy has been the Farm Manager at 21 Acres in Woodinville.

Erick Haackenson

Erick Haakenson, along with his wife and partner Wendy, owns and manage Jubilee Biodynamic Farm in Carnation. This season will be Jubilee’s 17th year of providing weekly boxes of produce to its CSA members. The motto of Erick and Wendy’s farm is taken from an essay by Wendell Berry:  “this much, but not more.” As a Biodynamic farm, Jubilee is striving toward (and close to achieving) the goal of raising all its own fertility. This is done through nutrient cycling of the composted manure from their herd of 70 cows.

Like so many things in life, Erick and Wendy believe that farming is and must be a balance between what goes into the farm, and what is taken out: which means a balance between the nutrients captured and passed on by the herd and the produce the farm grows. Jubilee Farm endorses without apology an ontological commitment to the conviction that people, animals, and every member of earth’s biotic and non-biotic community are more than simply machines, that each has moral standing, and that therefore each is worthy of respect.

Sean Conroe

Sean Conroe, founder of Alleycat Acres Urban Farm Collective, grew up working on gardens and farms in upstate New York. His family moved to Las Vegas in his late teens, where his connection with the land, and food, was lost. But he was soon reintroduced to nature after moving to Seattle in 2004. Through his volunteer experience at Bullock's Permaculture Homestead and his food-focused coursework at Seattle Central Community College, Sean started thinking about creating an organization that could help reconnect people to food and to the land that enables us to live.