Botanic Romantic is an online foraging guide and misfit art beast that exists somewhere in the borderlands between horticultural education, food/humor writing, and health advocacy.
I started working on the project in early 2017, during a two-month arts residency at Hinge Arts at the Kirkbride, in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. I wanted to make horticultural education just a little funnier and weirder — and to explore how minimalist illustration might promote the beauty of odd plants.
My residency began in April, before the ground had even thawed. I had no idea what kind of plants were most prolific (and most edible) in the area. I wasn’t even a good cook.
But I was eager to get outside and explore.
So I spent much of my residency exploring city parks, bike trails, and public and/or tax-forfeit wilderness areas in Fergus Falls, plus huge swaths of DNR-maintained land throughout greater Otter Tail county. I talked to anyone, and everyone I could. I awkwardly read maps. I made a lot of terrible sketches.
Since those early days, the project has spawned a website, a pop-up cocktail bar, a print run of 500 handmade letterpress coasters, and a family-oriented “art of weeds” class that combined herbal education with storytelling and design thinking.
In the future, I want to do more: more recipes, more illustrations, more experimental interactive design work. I want to keep exploring, and keep finding ways to reimagine the value of seemingly mundane plants.
Xoxo, Dakota Sexton
- Dakota Sexton – Head Misfit and Weirdo Explorer
- Siloh Radovsky – Writer, Herbal Researcher
- S.F. Keough – Writer
- Tom Sexton – Printer
To Linda Sparrowe, Spencer McGrew, Sue Wika and Tom Prieve of Paradox Farm, Gordon A. Hydukovich, Michele Anderson, Emily McCune, Naomi Schliesmann, Nancy Valentine, Dominic Facio, Molly Johnston, Erin Irby, Amanda Cross, the Kaddatz Galleries, Springboard for the Arts (who sponsored my residency at the Kirkbride, and introduced me to so many of the people who contributed) and so many other members of the Fergus Falls community — who opened their hearts to me and enthusiastically encouraged this project.
If you have any questions or are interested in contributing to this project, please email Dakota.