Introducing a Virtual, Visual Dictionary of Food

lexicon of food

Douglas Gayeton’s annotated portrait of soil expert Elaine Ingham recasts a complex scientific concept in earthier, artier terms.

Douglas Gayeton/Rumplefarm Studios

“Many consumers have no idea what’s in the food they eat, who makes it, or where it comes from,” says the filmmaker and photographer Douglas Gayeton.

In September, the 53-year-old launched Lexicon of Food to help us figure it out. The culmination of six years spent interviewing and photographing luminaries like Alice Waters and Joel Salatin, Gayeton’s website attempts to demystify terms such as edible education and mobstocking via annotated portraits of his well-known subjects (including soil microbiology authority Elaine Ingham, above).

In addition to these “information artworks,” Gayeton has stocked the site with enlightening videos and articles. And it’s just the first step in an ambitious plan to develop an entire Lexicon of Sustainability. The artist is currently tromping through Iowa fields to research his upcoming Lexicon of Water. (His wife, Laura Howard-Gayeton, oversees day-to-day production from the couple’s goat farm in Petaluma, California.) Taxonomies on “energy” and “climate” will follow. “Words,” Gayeton insists, “can change the world.”

Introducing a Virtual, Visual Dictionary of Food