Ashland painter Betty LaDuke presents her new book “Bountiful Harvest” as part of the Friends of the Hannon Library 2016-2017 speaker series Thursday.

In 2010, LaDuke was invited to spend time with the men and women who harvest the orchards, vineyards, and farms in Southern Oregon. LaDuke took to the field with her sketch pads and captured the spirit of each worker in her brilliant and vibrant wood painted panels. She also listened to their stories and the stories of small, organic farmers. “Bountiful Harvest: From Land to Table” (White Cloud Press) brings together the stories and paintings from the vibrant local food movement taking place in southern Oregon.

“Bountiful Harvest” begins with LaDuke’s briefly going over the arc of her creative life, from her childhood in the Bronx, to her formative art studies and teaching work in Mexico, followed by her tenure at Southern Oregon University, and her world travels, which continue into the present. The 82-year-old professor emerita has just returned from a trip to India.

The heart of “Bountiful Harvest” is the full color art reproduced in the book along with the stories LaDuke heard in the fields and orchards of the Rogue Valley. Featured stories come from local farmworkers and growers from Le Mera Gardens, Fry Family Farm, South Stage Cellars, Trium Vineyard, Meyer Orchards, Harry & David’s, and staff from the Ashland Food Co-op.

Support of art and educational programs for the children is an important part of the mission of the book: Author royalties and a portion of White Cloud Press sales will support cultural and educational programs for farmworkers’ children in Southern Oregon through the Oregon Community Foundation.

LaDuke's talk begins at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, in the Meese Room in Hannon Library on the SOU campus in Ashland. The event is free and open to all. Light refreshments and beverages will be served and LaDuke will be signing books that will be available for purchase ($19.95).