In 1982, two acres of land in Lower Manhattan were transformed into a wheatfield by SoHo artist Agnes Denes. Her project, titled Wheatfield, a Confrontation, was in the Battery Park City landfill, in the shadows of the Twin Towers and with the New York Stock Exchange looming just outside. Denes had said her idea was for "an intrusion of the country into the metropolis, the world's richest real estate."
Denes believed that her "decision to plant a wheatfield in Manhattan, instead of designing just another public sculpture, grew out of a long-standing concern and need to call attention to our misplaced priorities and deteriorating human values." Her mission, in part, was to make people rethink their priorities.
The installation also produced crops: "Two assistants and some volunteers helped her remove trash from the 4 acres of land, spread 225 truckloads of topsoil, and plant 1.8 acres of wheat. An irrigation system was installed to sustain and regulate the wheat's growth cycle over four months. In summer, the green wheat stalks stretched skyward and turned a brilliant amber by early autumn. In the late fall, the artist harvested a thousand pounds of the grain." The harvested grain traveled to 28 cities in an exhibition called The International Art Show for the End of World Hunger, and according to her website (which also mentions a time capsule), "the seeds were carried away by people who planted them in many parts of the globe."
The 6-month project was supported by the Public Art Fund, and is one of her best known to date. As the NY Times wrote that year, "To look across this wheat field is to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and boat traffic as in a surreal illusion."