Carman and Melanie Ida Chopko present Lettuce Lane,
an interactive roadway median planted with lettuce seedlings, sprouts
and edible wilds for participants to harvest their own locally grown
salad. This agriculturally based performance prompts participants to
engage with concepts of local and slow food production, edible foraging, and
heirloom seeds. Accompanying the installation, a limited edition
collaged field guide, Lettuce Eat, identifies a variety of specialty
greens and sprouts by their variations in leaf shape, taste and
Reminiscent of the wildly successful Victory Gardens of WWII, in
which front lawns were transformed into farm gardens to produce 40% of
the nations food supply, Lettuce Lane highlights the
underutilized capacity for food production in New York City. The
installation includes a Lettuce Action Center, in which participants
can complete a thank you note to various city agencies for their
support of urban food production, and request further collaboration for
the local food production movement.
Lettuce Lane is a part of FIGMENT, a celebration of participatory
art and creative culture on Governors Island in New York Harbor. The event is free and open to the public June 27-29th. Lettuce Lane is also an extension of the 2007 cross-country research tour, State of Progress (stateofprogress.org).
As artists, Carman and Chopko integrate their creative work with
their occupations as teachers and cultivators. Carman manages the
Brooklyn Children's Museum's Greenhouse and Garden, curating plant
species for the exploration of ethno-botany and natural science.
Chopko manages the compost system at Added Value, which operates a 2.75
acre urban farm working towards the sustainability redevelopment of Red