“Botanical Interventions: Rebuilding Landscapes, Reshaping Communities” — Oliver Kellhammer & Jennifer Burns Levin

May 9, 2013
3:00 pmto4:30 pm

Hendricks Hall
Hearth Rm (1st floor)
1408 University St., UO campus

1305_Kellhammer_flyer_finalA Fireside Conversation with Oliver Kellhammer, a permaculture artist, writer, and teacher specializing in ecological restoration and land art, and Jennifer Burns Levin, who teaches literature in the UO Clark Honors College. The two  will talk about Kellhammer’s interest in the shifting power relationships within public urban spaces and his own work on “botanical interventions,” land art that facilitates the healing processes of damaged landscapes and creates opportunities for more productive, mutually beneficial relationships between people and the environment.

Here’s what Jennifer Burns Levin has to say about this conversation: “Oliver Kellhammer is in town for the CSWS Northwest Women Writers Symposium event with his partner, novelist Ruth Ozeki. He’s a fascinating guy, and I’m pleased to be able to host him in a fireside chat as part of our Food in the Field RIG activities. Oliver is a Canadian land artist, permaculture teacher, activist, and writer. We will talk about his work with shifting power relationships within public urban spaces and communities. He’ll show images of his projects, integrative land art he calls ‘botanical interventions,’ and we’ll discuss his activism with small scale eco-forestry, urban food gardens, and other ways that permaculture and sustainable landscapes can transform us.”


Oliver Kellhammer is a Canadian land artist, permaculture teacher, activist and writer. His botanical interventions and public art projects demonstrate nature’s surprising ability to recover from damage. His work facilitates the processes of environmental regeneration by engaging the botanical and sociopolitical underpinnings of the landscape and takes such forms as: neighborhood-scale eco-forestry, inner city community agriculture and the restoration of eroded railway ravines. His process is essentially anti-monumental — as his interventions integrate into the ecological and cultural communities that form around them, his role as artist becomes increasingly obscured. He describes what he does as a kind of catalytic model-making, which lives on as a vehicle for community empowerment, while demonstrating methods of positive engagement with the global environmental crisis. He is co-founder of Cottonwood Gardens, one of Canada’s oldest community gardens and the nation’s first public permaculture demonstration site. I’ve recently collaborated with the noted British botanist Rupert Sheldrake on a landscape level project that examines the potential for re-introduction of prehistoric trees into areas vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Currently, he divides his time between British Columbia and New York City.

Jennifer Burns Levin teaches literature in the Clarks Honors College at the University of Oregon and is and author of the award-winning local food blog, Culinaria Eugenius. She co-hosts the Food for Thought radio program on Eugene’s NPR affiliate and coordinates the CSWS Food in the Field RIG.