‘Cultivate’ exhibition aims to cultivate interest in self-sustainability

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The “Cultivate: An Investigation of Narrative’s Role in Design” exhibit — designed by Taylor Klover, graduate student in fine arts — is an interactive gardening exhibit that allows the public to touch, see, taste, hear and smell the experience of growing your own food.

The display in the Mark A. Chapman Gallery in Willard Hall is constructed to the scale of a public parking space, following the model of “parklets” found in big cities, and promotes self-sustainability.

“In a lot of urban locations, there are people who put down turf and benches to create these parks inside of these type of cement jungles like Chicago and other areas,” Klover said. “So I took that idea and made it more of an exhibition style that can be educational.”

Klover organized multiple workshops in conjunction with the CULTIVATE exhibition over garden planning, planting, nurturing, harvesting and storing and cooking. Each day, she went over different recipes and how to cultivate produce for ingredients. Klover said her intention is to create a social experience where attendees can learn about food self-sustainability in an approachable and compact way.

“I wanted to do something that was proactive and involved communities,” Klover said. “In most areas where there is a lot of food insecurity, there is available land, but the knowledge to grow and be self-sustainable is not facilitated.”

To bring her idea to fruition, Klover partnered with local gardeners and growers as well as the Kansas State Student Farm Club, to facilitate the educational content in the exhibit.

“In an ideal scenario, the local gardeners and growers of each community would be the ones teaching and running the workshops, and this pop-up design would help them access their own community,” she said.

Klover said that the best way for this design to spread and become more common is by first accessing groups within communities that already have the interest of promoting self-sustainability.

“It’s difficult for just local gardeners to take on a project like this on their own simply due to the hours it takes to plan and perform workshops,” Klover said. “So, it is important to display this design in community centers and farmers markets initially to get those groups to take it out into their own communities.”

The Cultivate exhibition will be open through Friday, with a free public reception at 6 p.m. on Friday.

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