Plant seeds, create art, eliminate hunger
Nature has inspired artists for hundreds of years and photographer Tom Henry is no exception.
But while Henry captures beautiful photos of sunflowers stretching into blue skies and the proverbial amber waves of wheat, he also turns those crops into bread to help alleviate hunger in the Minneapolis and St. Paul communities.
This year, Henry worked with the Metropolitan Airports Commission to plan and plant wheat and sunflowers for a project he calls “The Golden Curve,” sponsored in part by a grant from the General Mills Foundation.
Passengers taking a light rail train near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Mall of America see it when they come around an ordinary curve into a beautiful field bursting with nearly 400 bright yellow sunflowers and fields of golden, flowing wheat.
“Sunflowers and wheat are a natural together and with the wheat now baled in between the rows of sunflowers, it looks a bit like a European landscape,” Henry says. “It takes the train about ten seconds to round the bend, so I like to think of it as ten seconds in Tuscany.”
Not only is Henry’s project beautiful to look at, it’s functional as well.
The wheat is harvested by hand by Henry himself with an old-fashioned scythe. It stays in the field to dry then it’s brought to a local mill to be made into flour.
Once it’s been processed, it’s delivered to volunteer bakers who put their individual styles into more than 250 loaves of bread that are donated to local food shelves, including Second Harvest Heartland.
“Tom helps alleviate hunger through beautiful, living pieces of art. The Foundation has supported him in the last few years as advancing nutritional wellness and ending hunger are a focus,” says Mary Jane Melendez, associate director of the General Mills Foundation.
“In the future, we think there’s an opportunity for this to be replicated in other communities. There is green space for gardens that are not only incredibly beautiful, but that also feed and nourishes hungry kids and families in local communities.”
Click here for more information on The Golden Curve, and to see more of Henry’s beautiful photographs of the project.