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Siena McKim

Ecological Artist + Educator

Freelance artist focusing on environmental and ecological education through interactive installation, sculpture, and illustration. 

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Ecology + Art + Intervention

Feast for Tiny farmers


Feast for Tiny Farmers is a culinary abstraction of the ways in which insects contribute to our food system and by extension how they care for us. Feast for Tiny Farmers consists of four distinct serving stations. At each station, the viewer acts as an insect would toward our food system; pollinating flowers, aerating the soil, decomposing plant matter, or eating insects that would otherwise harm our foods. Through these acts of play, users are encouraged to re-spark their innate childhood curiosity, leading to a sense of whimsy rather than disgust or fear surrounding insects. This experience not only encourages curiosity but also encourages a reciprocation of care. Our ultimate aim is to represent positive ways in which insect’s care for us and inspire our users to care for insects and by extent the environment in a similar way.


This was a collaborative effort between me and Courtney Ignace, another senior at the Stamps School of Art and Design. Together we make up the collective Ento-Mouth. The project was delivered during the opening of the Stamps Senior Exhibition, Adapt, on April 12 and continued to remain there, minus the food, until May 5.  



Featuring  Co-collaborator Courtney Ignace
Hungry visitors gather around to listen to Courtney and I explain how to navigate through the feast. 



Pollination is the process in which pollen is transferred from the male genitalia of flowers via pollinators like bees, birds, bats, and beetles, to the female genitalia or flowers where the fertilized egg then develops. At this station of the feast, visitors act as bees visiting flowers to pollinate and feed on "pollen". Visitors choose their own pie crust flower and pollinate their flower from the 3 ceramic flowers containing three distinct flavors of "pollen" (spherical nectars of hibiscus, elderflower, and rose milk). Then can eat the pollinated flower as a reward. 

Soil Aeration

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As ants, mole crickets, termites, and similar creatures burrow through the soil looking for food, they move minerals and nutrients from one soil layer to the next. In doing so they add air to the soil. This process helps plants to better absorb nutrients and air through their roots. At this station, the visitor is not acting as an insect exactly, but instead, they are eating a direct analogy of what insects do. The foaming juice is a metaphor for the air that insects help bring to the roots of plants, especially the root vegetables that we eat.


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Insects, like darkling beetles, work alongside bacteria and fungi to decompose the dead and return the nutrients in their bodies to the soil. Many insects eat and then excrete decomposing matter. In doing so they further process the matter into nutrients that plants can absorb. The material that is produced by this process is known as ‘humus’. At this station, visitors can snack on a chickpea salad within a darkling beetle larva, mealworm, shaped dish. Then visitors can take the salad and physically decompose the matter through a meat grinder and create their own 'humus' hummus as a darkling beetle would. 



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One of the most feared insects to humans is, in fact, our ally: parasitoid wasps including those within the families Ichneumonidae and Braconidae. These wasps lay their eggs inside of the bodies of their hosts, like the Manduca sexta, or green hornworm caterpillars, and aphids. The eggs hatch into larvae which kill and eat the host. The process of this predation feeds the predators’ babies and keeps our crops clean of pests. Visitors could act like baby parasitoid wasps and eat their way of the caterpillar by stabbing chocolate truffles on the caterpillar with wasp skewers. Truffles contained cricket flour and were individually coated with matcha, ginger, or cayenne. 

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