• Connections through the Black Agricultural Landscape
    Kelley Lemon

Kelley Lemon, “Kankakee County Map,” 2022. GIS Digital Map, 11 x 17 in. Kankakee County K-3 Mapper, ESRI, Kankakee County, Illinois. Web. 25 Feb 2022.

The number of independently owned farms in the United States is in rapid decline, with the number of farmers of color in ever decreasing numbers—already at a slim representation of only 1.4% nationally. In the state of Illinois, the number of Black-owned farms is less than 100, with the largest presence located in Pembroke Township, Kankakee County. Despite this statistic, independently-owned farms have cultivated an increasing presence with the rise of farmers markets specializing in local food—nurturing desire and awareness of where food comes from and who grows it. In this project, a series of mappings document current, established Black farms in the state of Illinois, further exploring their connections through community, wildlife, plants, food, and landscapes. The mappings highlight physical routes with landscape design proposals that explore sustainable design solutions to support a network of Black-owned farms in Illinois.

Kelley Lemon is a professional landscape architect and assistant professor in the department of landscape architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Lemon's interests further dive into design and theory of the built environment by researching and uncovering histories and ecological processes, engaging the people of the community, and developing new techniques and strategies to provide a solution that is of the place and vernacular.