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Barn-raised Smoke Farm talks provoke summertime reflection

caption: Smoke Farm in Arlington, Washington
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Smoke Farm in Arlington, Washington
Courtesy of Angus McCullough

This week on Speakers Forum we open a time capsule from last summer. It comes from the annual Smoke Farm Symposium. 

We were drawn there several years ago when the creators gave us a recording of some fascinating talks, punctuated by rainfall on the roof of a barn up in Arlington, Washington.

The gathering is the brainchild of University of Puget Sound professor Stuart Smithers and Seattle Times arts and culture reporter Brendan Kiley. It takes place on a late summer Saturday. The barn is large and welcoming. Between the thoughtful talks and discussions, there are walks in the woods, swims in the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River and delicious meals. And in true symposium fashion, the wine does flow around dusk.

 The 9th annual Smoke Farm Symposium took place on August 26, 2017. The topics included why a former refugee has an aversion to hiking and camping, the art of resistance, the state of artificial intelligence, the afterlife of an art critic and a cartoonist’s experience with graphic medicine. The featured speakers were Seattle Times reporter Tan Vinh, University of British Columbia professor Jaleh Mansoor, Google software engineer and designer Blaise Agüera y Arcas, former Stranger art critic Jen Graves and cartoonist Ellen Forney. Brendan Kiley served as emcee.

Smoke Farm is operated by the Rubicon Foundation, which is dedicated to “restoring and protecting habitat and natural diversity and providing environmental education, observation, and appreciation activities at Smoke Farm.”

Smoke Farm 2018 is coming up on September 8. Speakers will include Lesley Hazelton, Dr. Barak Gaster, Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, and Rebecca Brown.

Please note: These talks contain unedited language of an adult nature.

Photos courtesy Rubicon Foundation.

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