Document Type

Senior Honors Project

Publication Date



In Western culture, human beings have long sought to separate themselves from “nature,” but that attitude is not sustainable. We are part of the ecosystems around us; we rely on the earth to meet all of our vital needs. Social and ecological justice issues often overlap. As we face the climate crisis, these systemic concerns, such as food-access, clean water, and climate-changing pollution, begin to feel more and more personal for those previously unaffected, such as myself. Farming stands at the crux of many of these issues. This project explores human relation to the land through the lens of my personal experiences as an intern at Lily Springs Farm , a regenerative agriculture farm in Osceola, Wisconsin. The paintings and reflective essays that make up this project explore the lessons found in that experience. Through personal stories and images of the farm, I explore how human beings fit into ecosystems, and suggest what it might look and feel like to culturally redefine our relationship to land and shift our agricultural practices to restorative and regenerative ones. I ask you to consider what it would mean if the land owned us instead of the other way around. In the case of the complex ecosystem of relationships between social and ecological issues the metaphorical becomes closer to literal and lines blur between human social relationships and ecological relationships between plant communities. This project invites the viewer to look around the farm with me, and begin to reexamine their conceptions of farming, reconnect with their own land-based experiences, and imagine a joyful and sustainable future.



2020_ASH_Mathews-LingenE_DaikonRadish.jpg (2656 kB)
Painting: Daikon Radish

2020_ASH_Mathews-LingenE_HempKeepsGrowing.jpg (3114 kB)
Painting: Hemp Keeps Growing

2020_ASH_Mathews-LingenE_KinComingHome.jpg (1975 kB)
Painting: Kin Coming Home

2020_ASH_Mathews-LingenE_MonoculturePines.jpg (2857 kB)
Painting: Monoculture Pines

2020_ASH_Mathews-LingenE_PerfectTeeth.jpg (2262 kB)
Painting: Perfect Teeth

2020_ASH_Mathews-LingenE_RedBarn.jpg (1863 kB)
Painting: Red Barn