Sue Kelley Harkey

Promoting the Farm-to-Table Movement Through Art by Karin Sousa-Racicot

Examples of artwork that support the farm-to-table movement by Susan Kelley-Harkey.

Jersey cow at water trough

The Farm-to-Table movement connects local farmers and other food producers who grow fresh, organic, high quality products with local businesses such as natural health food stores, restaurants, and good old fashioned Farmer’s Markets.  As the farm-to-table movement expands nationally, this may open up some new avenues to inspire you and exhibit your work.

The National Governors Association report titled Arts and the Economy explained the importance of using arts and culture “to help boost local economies by encouraging collaborations between artists, designers, and product engineers.”  The Farm-to-Table movement in and of itself does help your local community and economy, and in turn, you can use your artistic skills to help promote the movement by working with local producers, farmers, and businesses to visually illustrate the concept of healthy living, as well as assist in economic development of both your local and neighboring communities.

Farm-to-Table mural at The Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center

Farm-to-Table mural at The Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center

One example of how Susan Kelley Harkey endeavors to promote this movement is by taking photos of farms and farm animals and creating paintings from these photographs.  Some of these photographs were also made into a 7 foot x 28 foot mural currently featured at one of CNN’s top national tourist “hot spots,” The NEK Tasting Center (, home of Vermont’s award-winning Eden Ice Cider (,  located in Newport, Vermont.  Lambs in hay at The Tasting CenterThe Tasting Center is an avid supporter and advocate of the farm-to-table movement.  When they opened, the center needed some artwork for their walls and Susan felt that her art would meet their needs.  She created a visualization and presented it to the owners.  They used her mural and large paintings of farm life to enhance the space.


The Tasting Center also hosted the celebration of the Northeast Kingdom’s reauthorization as a REAP (Rural Economic Area Partnership) zone which is a part of the 5-year Farm Bill signed by Senator Patrick Leahy in 2014. Many local and state officials, including Senator Leahy himself attended this event.

Susan and Senator and Mrs. Leahy at Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center

Susan and Senator and Mrs. Leahy at Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center


Organic Hay for Easter Basket GrassSusan has also completed a digital photo-realization commission for Tim’s Real Easter Basket Grass (a division of the Vermont Hay Company) (, whose organic grass can be found nationally at Whole Foods Market and has been mentioned in articles by the Chicago Tribune in April 2014 as well as the April 2014 issue of Oprah Magazine.


Susan and I encourage you to explore and reach out to your local schools, retail establishments, restaurants, and other businesses that promote the healthy living, farm-to-table lifestyle to see if they may be in need of someone to help visually promote their new or established business.


If you would like more information on the Farm-to-Table and Farm-to-School programs you can check out the following websites:

www.vtfarmtoplate.comPainiting of Polka Dot Calves in Pen