Biographic Data

Resume – Rhonda R. Janke


Artist’s Statement:


“My art focuses on the intersection of artistic expression, science, food, farming and sustainable agriculture, while also exploring issues of social justice and healing.  I feel that much of life is spent remembering what we already know.  Art is a pathway to that remembering.

I feel that materials used can be part of the message, and many materials come from my farm; wool from the sheep, paper made of weeds or apples, pigment from walnuts, hedge trees, herbs and  soil, and wax from the bees for encaustic.  Making the paint and fiber is as important as making the image.  I also see nature as a collaborator, not as a resource to be exploited.

In a series of recent projects, working with time and with soil to explore the process of decomposition has revealed a beauty in a process that is often hidden from view.  I approach nature, art and science with humility and a willingness to dwell in the unknown.”




MFA-Interdisciplinary Art (anticipated September, 2012) Goddard College

Port Townsend, Washington campus.  Advisers include Sharon Sisken (Berkeley, CA), Laiwan (Vancouver, Canada) and Seitu Jones (Minneapolis, MN).  Areas of focus included pre-historic art, community-based art, feminist art, sustainable, green, local and place-based eco-art, farming and art, and life as art.  The Goddard College offers a low-residency 5 semester MFA program designed for artists and other fully employed professionals.  Students come from both the U.S. and Canada for a 10-day intensive residency each semester followed by supervised work with an advisor.

1987  Ph.D, 1984  M.S. Cornell University

Research areas included crops, soils, ecology, and ruminant nutrition.  Dissertation title:  “Weed Management in Established Alfalfa Based on Cultural Control of Crop-Weed Interactions,” Ithaca, N.Y. 197 pp.

1980  B.S.   Kansas State University

Major Agronomy, included classes in crops and soils.  Electives included women’s studies, and several undergraduate drawing, design, and art history courses.

Published Abstracts/Presentations (on art):

“Exploring Interdisciplinary Environmental/Place-based Art and Community Art from a Feminist Perspective”  R.R. Janke.  Abstract published in proceedings. National Women’s Studies Conference Poster, Denver, Colorado, November, 2010

“In the past 30 years, environmental art has developed into a movement that takes art out of the galleries and into the fields, rivers, mountains and even farms.  Women as activists and artists are often at the forefront of these movements.  This poster examines contemporary environmental art from an eco-feminist perspective (with 11 example artists plus bibliography).”

Workshops that I have Created and Conducted:

“How to Make Paint” – for Goddard students and faculty, March, 2011

Covered the basics of pigment, carrier, and surface, and safety of materials now available for each of these components of a painting. Discussed how to make pastel sticks, water-based paint, oil paint, and demonstrated making gouache with local materials such as soil as well as purchased earth pigments.  For copy of handout see “making paint” tab on website.

“Climate Change: Art that can change the world (or can it?)” – for Goddard students and faculty, August, 2011

Referenced recent show and book in Boulder, Colorado, “Weather Report: Art and Climate Change (2007)” and the on-going project “Cape Farwell” ( as well as other examples of eco-art addressing climate change and carbon issues.  Discussed the possible power of art to change the world and also the limitations.

“Life as Art and Art as Life: A Discussion” – for Goddard students and faculty, August, 2011

This workshop discussed three readings; Suzanne Lacy’s book  “Mapping the Terrain” (1995), Allan Kaprow’s article “The Real Experiment” (1983),  and John Dewey’s book “Art as Experience” (1934).   Parallels were discussed in all three readings, as well as how the ideas inspired, and were passed down from teacher to student among these three individuals.

Statement on Studio Practice and Exhibits

I think of myself as the “artist in residence” on my farm, which includes 10 acres, managed organically (non-certified).  We have a small flock of sheep for meat and wool, chickens for eggs and meat, bees, enough vegetables and fruit to be self-sufficient in many, and sell at the local farmers’ markets.  This provides the basis for the content in my art.  And, having taken studio art classes as an undergraduate (although my first PhD was in agriculture) that experience of working from nature from a very different perspective, never left me.

In fact, in 2008 I began studying painting again with a professor from Kansas State University, Judy Love and exhibited this work locally.  This led to my acceptance in the graduate program at Goddard where my work took on a more interdisciplinary nature and I could more clearly develop and make the connections between my background in Agriculture with my work as an artist.  As you can see from my portfolio and artist statement, Agriculture is an integral component and one that informs my work as an artist.  This work has been exhibited in various venues at Goddard and reviewed by my faculty committee as well as nationally and internationally recognized visiting interdisciplinary artists.

Current Position and Professional Experience – Agriculture:

1994 – Present           

Kansas State University, Associate Professor (tenured) and Extension Specialist, Sustainable Cropping Systems.   Affiliated faculty member of the Women’s Studies Department. Duties include teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in Sustainable Agriculture, Organic Agriculture, Urban Food Systems, Vegetable Crops and Fruit Crops.  Also supervise numerous graduate student research projects, conduct research on soil and water quality.



Rodale Institute:  Agronomy Section Leader, (1986-1992) and Director of Research (1992-1994), and Adjunct Assistant Professor, The Pennsylvania  State University Rodale Institute – Supervised staff of 50 research and support positions, represented the Institute at national and international meetings,  public speaking, grant writing, conducted research and collaboration in the areas of soil quality, weed ecology, and organic cropping systems research.

International Experience:  Farm Tours, Research Center Visits and Professional Conferences (Agriculture):

Argentina – 2001, Bariloche, Pampas region, Patagonia, Missiones, University of Buenos Aires  (weed science collaboration).

Canada – 1988, 1990. Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, mixed grain and livestock farms, – Universities’ experiment stations in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec.

England – 1993, Conference on Measuring sustainability Using Long-Term Experiments.    Rothamstead Experimental Station.  Sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Germany – 1992, Central, former E. and W. Germany, grain and livestock.  University of Gottingen, University of Witzenhausen.

Honduras – 1992, Southern and central region, cover crop research. Pan-American Agriculture University, Loma Linda Farm  and Training Center. Escuela Agricola PanAmericana, Honduras

India – 1990, Presented at workshop: Needs and Opportunities for Cooperative Research in Sustainable Land Use Systems., New Delhi, India, co-sponsored by USDA-OICD, Rodale Institute, and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

Italy – 1990, 1992,Central and Eastern regions, organic fruit growing and grain production. University of Padova.  Presented at conference.

Japan – 1991, Akita and Shizouka, rice and vegetable production. Institute of Environmental Studies, Kyoto, and the Mokichi Okada Research Farm.

Mexico – 1984. Oaxaca, Tabasco, Chiapas, and Verecruz, various private farms and ejidos, CIMMYT, Mexico City, University of Tobasco, Tabacso

Netherlands – 1996, Polder region, vegetables and grains, and  organic greenhouse production.  University of Wageningen, Sustainable Agriculture Research Center, Center for Dairy Research.

Nigeria – 1989. Southern region, agroforestry.  International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

Paraguay – 2003, Taught 2-week course on soil quality at La Escuela Agrícola, an organic agriculture school near Asunción, the capital.  Toured farms, university research plots and met with environmental group representatives.

Senegal – 1989, Peanut basin, dryland cropping and composting. ORSTOM (French Research Facility) Dakar, and ISRA  (Institut Senegalais d Recherche Agricole), and WARDA (West African Rice Development Association).

Uruguay – 2003, Southern coastal areas, organic farms. Co-leader of  2-week sustainable agriculture tour of farms, Agriculture University of  Montevideo, also with Iowa State University.


Books Published


“Farming in the Dark – A Discussion about the Future of Sustainable Agricutlure.”  2007.  University Readers Press, San Diego, CA.  307 pp.  This book includes interviews with 20 sustainable and organic farmers and gardeners conducted in 2005, while I was on sabbatical. My intention was to provide a resource for students of sustainable agriculture to understand the history of this movement, and where those that are a part of this movement would like to see it go in the next 25 years.  See website:

Personal History

Born April, 1958 in Junction City Kansas.  Grew up on a wheat and dairy farm in central Kansas and attended Chapman High School.  Married to Raad Al-Ani.


2 comments on “Biographic Data

  1. […] Farm has “written the book” for contemporary farm art. She calls it “articulture” and I wish that she would soon publish so that everyone can see what is possible in the […]

  2. […] Farm has “written the book” for contemporary farm art. She calls it “articulture” and I wish that she would soon publish so that everyone can see what is possible in the […]

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