Wheatfield—A Confrontation (The Harvest), 2 acres of wheat planted and harvested by the artist on a landfill in Manhattan's financial district, summer 1982.
photos from the Chelsea Art Museum.
Greenmuseum.org writes, "In 1982, she carried out what has become one of the best-known environmental art projects when she planted a two-acre field of wheat in a vacant lot in downtown Manhattan. Titled, Wheatfield -- A Confrontation, the artwork yielded 1,000 lbs. of wheat in the middle of New York City to comment on "human values and misplaced priorities". The harvested grain then traveled to 28 cities worldwide in "The International Art Show for the End of World Hunger" and was symbolically planted around the globe. "
Aren't these photos great? I remember learning about this work some time ago, but running into it again at Mount Olympus renewed my excitement about the work and the idea. As it gets more and more expensive to ship food across huge distances (what James Howard Kunstler likes to call the "3,000 mile salad"), it will be more important to grow food nearer to where it is consumed - so I think this work in particular will have increasing relevance over time. There's recently been a boom in urban farming. In fact, Denver's Westword ran a feature on the movement in May called "The Urbavore's Dilemma: Getting down and dirty with Denver's backyard farmers".
See also; this post at Coolhunting about landscape ecologist Eric W. Sanderson's decade-long Mannahatta Project, an exhaustive study and recreation of the Manhattan ecosystem circa 1609 (the year of Henry Hudson's arrival in Mannahatta).