By Charlie Mitchell

The 60-mile drive in Sauk County known as Farm Art DTour provided thousands of “Dtourists” with an opportunity to view and enjoy the charming, scenic farmland in pleasant early fall weather. Organized and presented by the Wormfarm Institute (headquartered in Reedsburg) the event encompassed the towns of Plain and Sauk Prairie on a figure-eight route of country roads through an artwork of fields and farms. Along the way were large-scale sculptures and local food markets, all of it punctuated by educational field notes and roadside poetry. 

Scenic overlook along Farm Art Dtour. Photo: Wormfarm Institute    

The Wormfarm Institute is an organization dedicated to integrating art, agriculture and ecology for the betterment of the agricultural life-style. In the words of their website, their stated mission is “to integrate culture and agriculture”, to bring together farming, conservation, and the arts to kindle cultural expression and enhance the economy of the region.

Jay Salinas, artist and farmer, is Wormfarm co-founder, and with his partner Donna, they organize the DTour, with the help of a small dedicated staff and dozens of volunteers and collaborators. Jay says, “My reward is witnessing the range of relationships that develop between artists, farmers, landowners and business owners during the event.”

One tourist, Gary Goyke of Maple Grove, said that the tour was “excellent” and that he really enjoyed it.     

 Now a biennial in its eighth year, this year’s event took place Sep 26 to Oct 4 and drew over 20,000 people. Although scheduled well before the coronavirus pandemic began, the event was planned to include a comprehensive safety protocol of social distancing, using the motto Stay One Cow Apart.

It was a celebration of the agricultural lifestyle of Wisconsin, the best of “agritourism”: reaching out to urban residents, providing education to all and building respect for Wisconsin’s scenic heritage.

October 15, 2020