The story behind the work

At Evergreen exhibition, Shannon Young turns food into art and vice versa

Shannon Young's art turns food into art, and vice versa.
Shannon Young's art turns food into art, and vice versa. (Michael O'sullivan/the Washington Post)
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 14, 2010

Baltimore artist Shannon Young says her interest in food politics -- the debate over local vs. global production -- dates to her early teens, when she worked in an Italian restaurant in Utah, where she grew up.

At Evergreen, she plans to be on site almost every day, unless it rains, watering and tending her plants, which include lettuce, spinach, strawberries, leeks, onions, purple cabbage, broccoli, onions, beets and carrots. Look for her on most weekends, between noon and 1 or 2 p.m., preparing salads for visitors.

There's one group of customers the artist hopes to discourage, through the use of mesh netting. As it turns out, the shopping carts used for Young's garden (donated by the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op) are exactly salad-bar height for the estate's resident deer population. As Evergreen director James Abbott told her, "You've made it really easy for deer that have back problems."

-- Michael O'Sullivan

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