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Mary Swander interviews with My Fulfilled Life, an episode about her journey with family farming

Mary Swander, a poet laureate from Iowa and BEI Emeritus Fellow, was interviewed for an episode of My Fulfilled Life.  Swander speaks about her journey through family farming, addressing social justice, connections to food and her two plays, Vang and Map of My Kingdom.

Click here to listen to Mary Swander’s full interview.


The Journey of Mary, Episode with My Fulfilled Life-  topics include:

  • Change Food Festival in New York -Performed two plays
  • Ag Arts – a group design imagined to promote healthy foods through Art
    • Create residencies for artists
  • Came from a farming family and currently had a small plot
  • Started worked with students on a farscape play about farming and it took off!
  • Smaller rural communities looking to renovation
  • Desire to address the social justice issue through plays
    • Loss of farms in the rural area to big companies
    • Moving from family farms to contract farming
  • The connection with the loss of the way of life from farmer’s. miners, urban large manfucturers
  • Became extremely chemically sensive to the air, toxins, everything (1938)
    • Extremely difficult to find food without it
    • Move to Amish county and learned new gardening techniques
  • Challenges to moving into a different way of life and environment. How it affected her career
  • How to get over the obstacles of supporting yourself living your writer’s dream