SEEDBED: A Soil Symposium


A Soil Symposium

April 26-27, 2018

Co-hosted by the E.A.R.T.H. Lab and the UCSC Farm & Garden and the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS).

This interdisciplinary symposium on the state of soil will feature performances, interactive activities and pop up exhibitions of visual artworks in the glass cases at the Art Department and in the Barn.

Panels will take place in the Cowell Ranch Hay Barn exploring a diverse range of topics from microbes to waste management, labor and farming; the magic of composting and soil science.

Seedbed will explore how climate change and human industry have endangered our topsoils – rendering it deadly- as well as the amazing life sustaining potential of what we call “dirt.”


Everyone is welcome. Symposium is free.

All events take place in the vicinity of the Farm and at the COWELL HAY BARN. Google map link here. It’s a big campus, be sure to follow our link! There are many food options for purchase on campus, have a look at the cafe link here.  You can find everything else you need below, but if you have any additional questions, shoot us an email at, and we’ll be happy to answer.


Thursday April 26th, Performance Art at the Farm, with evening activities at the Cowell Hay Barn.

Friday April 27th, Welcome by Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, Keynote by Fred Kirschenmann, Panels on Soil, Farming and Labor, Waste, Compost will follow lunch.

Thursday night film screening.

More details coming soon!

(so far)

Keynote: Frederick Kirshenmann
Dr. Frederick L. Kirschenmann – Distinguished Fellow, Leopold Center
A longtime national leader in sustainable agriculture, Dr. Frederick Kirschenmann is a distinguished fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, where he also teaches in the Department of Religion and Philosophy. Additionally, he oversees the management of his
family’s 1,800-acre farm in North Dakota, which was converted into a certified organic operation in 1976. Dr. Kirschenmann remains a distinguished proponent of the push for sustainable methods of agriculture, and received the James F. Beard Foundation Leadership award in 2011.

Bill Basquin
works in partnership with others. His practice takes as its root his relationship with those around him and the changes that can occur in meaningful partnership over extended periods of time and with careful observation and interaction. He stresses locality: making for small audiences and with specific vocabulary that depend on the readings of a network of human and non-human alliances. He has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, New York; Documenta in Kassel, Germany; and the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. He lives and works in San Francisco, California.

Christina Bertea
The first woman apprentice admitted into a CA plumbing union. She was also a member of the Grey Water Guerrillas where she helped write grey water into the California Plumbing code. She teaches permaculture workshops and she envisions we humans gracefully re-entering the nutrient cycle, offering what passes through our bodies back to the earth in the most delicious forms possible.

Karin Bolender
(aka K-Haw Hart, PhD) is an artist-researcher who seeks “untold” stories within muddy multispecies meshes. As principal investigator of the Rural Alchemy Workshop (R.A.W.), she explores dirty words and tangled wisdoms of earthly bodies through performance, writing, video, and sound. In the company of she-asses Aliass and Passenger and a far-flung herd of collaborators, the R.A.W. cultivates interspecies forays like R.A.W. Assmilk Soap, the She-Haw Transhumance series, Gut Sounds Lullaby, and The Unnaming of Aliass.

Gerald Casel
Gerald Casel is an associate professor of dance at UCSC. His choreography provokes questions surrounding colonialism, cultural amnesia, whiteness and privilege, and the invisible/perceived/obvious structures of power in dance. As a teacher, he employs somatics as a way to amplify knowledge production through movement and by identifying and undoing coded systems of dance training that privilege Eurocentric canons and aesthetics. A graduate of The Juilliard School, he received an MFA from the UW-Milwaukee. Casel has danced for Michael Clark, Lar Lubovitch, and Stephen Petronio and was awarded a ‘Bessie’ – New York Dance and Performance Award for Sustained Achievement.

Carolina Novella Centellas

Daniel Bernhard Cremer/Gaiaboi
is working in performance art, as theatre director, ecosexual counselor, queer science-fiction writer & passionate witch. Daniel staged operas, co-created collectively written plays, and initiated participatory projects by and for children as well as grown-ups and ecosystems. His performative work has been shown at various theatres, including the Gorki theatre and HAU in Berlin, festivals like Berliner Theatertreffen, as well as museums like GAK Bremen, Berlinische Galerie and Schwules Museum* in Berlin. Daniel’s work focuses on healing through transgressive pleasure, expansion of sexual horizons and the abolishment of the ugly status quo through communal states of expanded awareness. In 2017 he took part in Annie Sprinkle’s and Beth Stephens’ Ecosexual Walking Tour at Documenta 14 in Kassel, Germany. Daniel’s most recent work, “Born to make you happy”, will be shown again in June at Mousonturm theatre in Frankfurt am Main.

Dragonfly aka Robin Laverne Wilson
Dragonfly is an auteur, raconteur, and benevolent provocateur. She is a Baptist deacon’s daughter turned radical deaconess with The Church of Stop Shopping, and continues sharing large and small stages with Reverend Billy–from opening for Neil Young to a featured set at Cabaret Voltaire and residency at Joe’s Pub. Her alter-identities include Miss Justice Jester, the flamboyant firebrand guerilla street and performance activist–and Helvetika Bold, the comic book social justice supershero brainchild of Gan Golan and Betsy Richards for The Opportunity Agenda. She has spoonfed provocative memoirs to the Red Umbrella Project’s Prose & Lore Anthology series and collaborated with political performance artists Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens. As Robin Laverne Wilson, she was a record-breaking candidate for senator of New York State on the Green Party ticket in 2016. Born in Detroit but raised in Texas, Dragonfly is the proud daughter of an Army combat medic/Korea/Vietnam veteran and a homemaker/domestic. She calls Brooklyn home but still unabashedly says “y’all” and “ain’t.”

David Dunn
Composer, Artist and Bio-Acoustic Researcher, Professor of Music, UCSC

Jordan Freeman
Jordan is an independent filmmaker who lives on a sailboat in San Pedro, CA. In 2005 he moved to the Coal River Valley in WV from Los Angeles, CA and then spent the last decade documenting the unfolding controversies surrounding coal mining throughout Appalachia. He was a primary videographer for the film Coal Country. He ws also a videographer and archivist for organizations such as Coal River Mountain Watch, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition documenting events for web release. He was the cinematographer for Goodbye Gauley Mountain, and did the aerial shots for Water Makes Us Wet, produced by Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle. His most recent film is Blood on the Mountain.

Rick Flores

Amy Mihyang Ginther
Amy is a transracial Korean American adoptee and is faculty in the UCSC Theater Arts Dept, specializing in voice, text, and acting. She has lived, taught, and performed in the US, UK, Argentina, Czech Republic, Ireland, Vietnam, and Korea. Amy’s recent award-winning solo show, Homeful, will be performed in NYC this fall.

Lesley Green
Lesley Green is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and founding director of Environmental Humanities South, a research centre at the University of Cape Town. Her current research focuses on race and the making of an environmental public in a time of climate change in South Africa, linking the critique of modernist thought with the work of postcolonial and decolonial thinkers. She is the editor of Contested Ecologies: Dialogues in the South on Nature and Knowledge (HSRC Press, 2013), co-author of Knowing the Day, Knowing the World: Engaging Amerindian Thought in Public Archaeology (Arizona University Press, 2013), and author of Rock | Water | Life: Essays from South Africa on Science and Decoloniality (Duke University Press, forthcoming 2018). She is currently on a Fulbright at the Science and Justice Research Center at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Newton Harrison
Ecological Artist and Founding Director of the Center for the Force Majeure, Professor of Art, UCSD

Jennifer Harrower 
Environmental Studies PhD Candidate, UCSC. Juniper researches the impacts of climate change on iconic Joshua trees and their symbiotic partners as both a scientist and an artist. Her ecology research focuses on the species interactions between Joshua trees, their soil fungi, and moth pollinators, to understand how these partnerships could change with climate. She further investigates these topics as a multimedia artist – creating animations, an online dating site for Joshua trees, and an experimental painted soil study – to highlight and explore the complexities of these relationships, and to share their incredible beauty.

Keith Hennessy
An award-winning performer, choreographer, teacher and organizer. Hennessy directs Circo Zero, a laboratory for live performance that plays with genre and expectation. Rooted in dance, Hennessy’s work embodies a unique hybrid of performance art, music, visual and conceptual art, circus, and ritual.

Jane Komori
PhD Candidate in the History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz. Research explores mixed race identity, Japanese Canadian history, aging, storytelling, and alternative food systems. These interests are bridged by creative work including comics, creative writing, and illustration.

Kristina Lyons
Feminist, postcolonial and decolonial interfaces with science studies, environmental humanities, politics of ‘nature’ and ‘matter’, ethnographic theory, literary ethnography and ecopoetics, politics and the political in Latin America, socioecological justice, sociocultural anthropology. Professor of Feminist Studies and affiliated with the Science and Justice Research Center, Anthropology and Latin American and Latino Studies.

Sydney Mintz
Rabbi at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, CA

Linda Mary Montano
I am a performance artist. I make art of time and life.  If there is something wrong with my life I make art about it. If there is something mysterious about  life I make art about it.  Having been raised in a very STRICT Roman Catholic traditional way and having been in a convent for two years, I borrow that pedagogy and there are hints of that methodology in all of my work although there is  often humor disguised as material for art-making.  This is a relief from what I consider intense suffering which is the foundation of my work.  Shop at  my website and blog and in my 5 books for more if you wish.

Melissa K. Nelson
Melissa K. Nelson, Ph.D. (Anishinaabe/Turtle Mountain Chippewa) is an ecologist, writer, and Indigenous scholar-activist. She is an associate professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University and president of the Cultural Conservancy, a native-led Indigenous rights organization. Melissa has been involved with the Indigenous food sovereignty movement for over 20 years. She co-manages an Organic Farm at the College of Marin and is a co-founder of the Slow Food Turtle Island Association. She is an earth diver and seed saver and just started the Native Seed Pod, a podcast polyculture. Melissa is the editor of and contributor to two books, Original Instructions (2008) and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (2018).

Elisa Oceguera
PhD Candidate in Cultural Studies at UC Davis. Research focus in food politics, critical race theory, environmental justice, testimonios, autonomous marxism, queer theory, postcolonial theory, epistemologies of resistance, community formation and social movements.

Kevin O’Connor
Multidisciplinary artist working as a choreographer, dancer, improviser, circus artist and installation artist

A. Laurie Palmer
Sculpture, Installation, Public art, Contemporary theory, and Writing. Professor of Art, UCSC

Damian Parr Ph.D.
Research & Education Coordinator, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS)

Irene Reti
is the director of the Regional History Project at the UCSC Library, which has been documenting the history of UCSC and of the Central Coast since 1963. She is the co-editor/project manager of Cultivating a Movement: An Oral History of Organic Farming and Sustainable Farming on California’s Central Coast: and of Out in the Redwoods: Documenting Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender History at the University of California, Santa Cruz 1965-2003:
Outside of UCSC, Reti is the publisher of HerBooks lesbian feminist press, which published many titles including Garden Variety Dykes: Lesbian Traditions in Gardening in 1994. She is also a writer and landscape photographer.

Shawn Shafner
Shawn Shafner is an artist, educator and activist. Creator of The People’s Own Organic Power Project (, he has catalyzed conversation about sustainable sanitation from the top of NYC’s largest wastewater treatment plant to the floor of the United Nations. Shawn’s solo show An Inconvenient Poop was a Time Out New York Critic’s Pick and won him the 2015 NY International Fringe Festival Award for Overall Excellence in Solo Performance. Other major POOP works include the feature documentary Flush, family musical Innie / Outie, and monthly episodes of SHHH: The Poopcast (aka Shit and Shame with Shawn). Shawn has presented his work across the country at higher education institutions including Columbia University, University of Alabama and the University of California at Santa Cruz, and has had the opportunity to talk shit with communities globally, including in Dubai, Edinburgh, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Jerusalem, Mexico City).

Joshua Tuthill
Joshua Tuthill’s work has focused on existential sub-conscious narratives with an emphasis on humankind’s interaction with the world around him/her. Recently it has been exhibited both nationally and internationally including Academy Award qualifying festivals such as the 24th Slamdance Film Festival, Park City, Utah, the 45th Athens International Film + Video Festival, Athens, OH 10th International Animated Film Festival Animator, Poznan, Poland, The 28th Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival, Yubari, Japan, the Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival, RI. His newest film, Black Dog, premiered at the 29th Message to Man International Film Festival in Saint-Petersburg, Russia and received the Jury’s Choice Award at the 37th Black Maria Film Festival, Jersey City, New Jersey.

Martabel Wasserman
Martabel Wasserman is a writer, artist, curator living in Santa Cruz. She has written about fierce pussy, the AIDS crisis, the aesthetics of solidarity and seashells. Curatorial projects include Fire in Her Belly, Hold Up, Coastal/Border and The Rebel Body. She was the founding editor of RECAPSmagazine from 2012-2014. She has shown visual art in Providence, Los Angeles and New York City.


Attention: We are still in the process of organizing speakers, artists and performers. Exact times & details will be firmed up by mid March-but we are getting close.

WHERE: All events are at the UCSC Hay Barn and Farm Area, except where noted. 

Thursday, April 26

UCSC Farm – Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems

Time  Event
9:00-10:00 Meet & Greet
Coffee, tea and breakfast nibbles.
 10:00-10:30 Land Acknowledgement, Welcome & Introduction (s) 
“Seedbed; A Primer.” Annie Sprinkle (E.A.R.T.H. Lab artist), and Beth Stephens (artist, Director of the E.A.R.T.H. Lab and Chair of the Art Department).The Pollination Pod will be on view throughout the day.



Robin Laverne Wilson aka Dragonfly Diva



Dance: Keith Hennessy and Gerald Casel
12:15-1:45 LUNCH
Performance: Gaia boi




Dance:  SOIL TIMES; 3 dances 3 places
Kevin O’Connor (Irish-Sicilian)
Ruth Douthwright (Canadian)
Montana Summers (Oneida Nation)

2:45-3:45 Performance: Karin Bolender: Rural Alchemy Workshop (RAW)  
Slide Lecture: Seeking Symbiosis: Art and science research for Joshua trees and their symbiotic soil fungi.  Juniper Harrower



5:30-6:00 Dirty Poetry Slam: Emceed by Dragonfly and featuring: Amy Mihyang Ginther + more
6-7:30 DINNER
9 pm Film Screening: The E.A.R.T.H. LAB presents
WATER MAKES US WET: AN ECOSEXUAL ADVENTUREDirected by Beth Stephens & Annie Sprinkle, Produced with Keith WilsonThis documentary film explores the relationship of water with soil and waste and introduces the ecosexual gaze. 80 minutes w/ Q&A with the directors/producers/cast.
Popcorn will be served, and there will be an open water bar.

Friday, April 27

At UCSC Hay Barn

Time  Event

BREAKFAST MEET AND GREET– Coffee, tea and breakfast nibbles.

Sprinkle & Stephens’ Pollination Pod will be on view throughout the day.

10:30-12:00 Keynote: Frederick Kirschenmann
“It All Turns on Soil” (Professor, President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and Organic Farmer) Respondent: TBA
12:00-1:30 LUNCH

The Generosity of Soil

Participants: Melissa K. Nelson, Laurie Palmer, Kristina Lyons +1


So(i)lidarity: Farming and Labor

Moderator: Frederich Kirschenmann
Participants: Elisa Oceguera, Jane Komori, Rick Flores +1

 5:30-7  DINNER

Composting and Waste Management

Participants: Shawn Shafner (aka the Puru), Christina Bertea, Bill Basquin, Leslie Green

8:30-9:30 TBA


Any and all attendees that want to can speak, perform, announce, or comment, for one minute. Those that want to participate will write down their names and they will be drawn one by one and called to come to the mic.


Closing by Linda M. Montano