tisdag 5 juli 2011

THE ECOLOGY OF FOOD: Workshop 7-8 July


The focus of our workshop this week with Anna Maria Orru was to investigate creative methodology for strengthening our relationship with what we eat, and how we grow food in the city? What we grow?
The seminar and workshop will be in 2 parts; 
speaking and learning (day 1). 
And designing and doing (day 2)

DAY 1: Speaking and learning;
how do we grow food in the city?  where do we grow it?  what can we grow seasonally?
When you plug food into the entire 'system' of food, what comes out?  Food has long tentacles in the economy, politics, social ties and of course, environmental effects.  We discussed these ties and looked into a film on the 'business of food' entitled 'FOOD.INC'.  Shocking portrayal of the production and distribution of food in the united states.  Are we following these trends in europe?

We looked into inspirations for what to eat?  where to grow.  A couple links for our delight:
Dan Barbers' 'how i fell in love with a fish' and 'foie gras parable'.

The open sauces cook book produced by FoAM inspired our idea of creating topic-infused food.  In this case we focused on the environmental challenges and opportunities associated with food.

Then it was lunch time, hungry stomachs with no simple task.  We had to 'track our take-aways', including all the packaging used up to feed us. We looked into water, food, energy and labour that it takes to make our lunch.  Not easy, and so informative!  We found out about farmed salmon fish, quinoa and all those 'E' numbers in our food! For example, it takes 5kg of freshly caught anchovies, to feed and breed 1kg of farmed salmon.  Astonishing!  will our lips tough these farm fish again???

Then it was time to focus on senses...the sense of food, and how to use them as instruments of design for awareness.  We looked at a project Anna Maria was involved in entitled 'foodprints', and this part of the workshop becomes a part of her project as well.  We looked into 5 topics which we would cook the next day -
1. Peak (peak oil, phosphorus, water etc),
2. communal soil (community gardening and growing),
3. values (food ethics, waste as value etc),
4. techy (laboratory food, hydroponics etc), and
5. regeneration (self-sufficiency, fertility etc).

We then used a parameter of senses to explore taste, smell, sound, touch, sight and texture.

DAY 2: designing and doing
Today we cook!  Here is what we came up with for our scenarios

REGENERATION - Self-sufficient, closed-loop in practice, restorative
The senses on this topic included:Taste: fresh, spicy/hot / Smell: moist / Sound: squishy / Touch: squishy, efforting, spongey / Sight: circular and complex / Character/ Texture: bouncy, repetitive

2 meringues, 1 fresh chilli, a hanfull of fresh gooseberries bought from market.  A bowl with 2 handles.  A string to hang with.  Patience to 'fork' your food!

We decided to create a course which was never stable...it swings, circular motion, regenerating the contents on the inside.  rotating.  The ingredients of sweet meringue, fresh chopped chilli and Goose-berries created an experience that was both exotic and playful, shocking, refreshing.  Definitely a good tasting sensation.

COMMUNAL SOIL - self-sufficiency, social, permaculture, community enhancing
The senses on this topic included:
Taste: salty / Smell: citrusy / Sound: wet / Touch: hairy / Sight: monochrome / Character/ Texture: soft

3 potatos,1 leak (white part) , 4 mashtooms, 1 onion, 1 lime, 3 spoons of butter, 1dl fresh cream, 2 spoons of flouwer, two spoons of salt, two spoons of white pepper. 

Idea behind  the dish: 

There are three layers on this plate. I tried to contextualize my dish layers to the layers of plants growing in nature. The bottom is the white cream with mushroom. Second layer is the leak and potato. The top layer is the lime. Mushroom in the bottom layer is the family of the fungi, which makes the soil rich. Potato in the second layer grows inside the soil. Also leak in the second floor grows up from the soil. Lime in the top layer fruits on the top of the tree.
It could be the dish served for the local harvesting festival of potato in Sweden. There is a trick in the decoration of the leak that makes the dish playful. Leaks are decorated to look like crossing each other, but there is a small mountain of leak which is hiding the crossing pint.

The game of this dish: 
Hold one end of each leak and pull it. Most of the people get the half length of the leak as his/ her own piece. However, there are some people grabbing the same leak from opposite ends. Those people who got the leak connected to the other side will get the prize in the festival. This dish might activate the communication among the local community. It will also help the young generation to have interest in the potato production later when they grow up. 

PEAK - peak resources, hard to get, depleting, where to find, how to be different
The senses on this topic included:
Taste: sweet, bitter, stingy / Smell: heavy / Sound: crunchy / Touch: rough, crumbly / Sight: dark, shapes / Character/ Texture: patterned


VALUES - ethical food, food prices, economy of food, accessibility
The senses on this topic included:
Taste: sweet / Smell: musky / Sound: quiet / Touch: warm / Sight: irregular / Character/ Texture: soft

Ingredients: some potatoes, raw almond butter, milk, cream, an apple.
For wrapping: paper, flowers and jars.
Idea: During this week I have really questioned my own way of eating.
The first day I actually became a vegetarian. For real. My ambition now are also to eat more simple. To learn how to really appreciate every potato and every apple, as the gold of the soil they really are (my grandmother always tells me that). This is a way of be both more healthy and more ethical. To be more aware. To value.
My dish are an illustration of this perspective. I wanted to create some kind of ceremonial feeling around this really basic ingredients. Potatoes, milk, cream, apples – ingredients that for us often are so axiomatic they get invisible. I wanted to lift them up.

So: you unwrap this big package of paper. (This could be instead of a plate.) Its tied together with flowers. Inside you find both baked and cooked fresh potatoes. You eat it with ecological raw almond butter. To drink: hot milk in a jar. Upon the jar - a lightened candle. If you want to: make a pray, be thankful for eating, be thankful for the moment, be calm.
For dessert I baked an apple wrapped in wax paper in the oven for 45 minutes, until it was really creamy and smelled a bit like apples outdoors in the fall. I served it with roses, sugar and an almost empty honey jar filled with some whipped cream.
This is my way of telling myself that simpleness and limitations maybe today could be one of the most effective ways of learning how to really value things as they really should be valued.

TECHY - vertical harming, hydroponics, future food in a flash, laboratory eating
The senses on this topic included:
Taste: surprising, sweet / Smell: spicy / Sound: squishy / Touch: soft / Sight: sleek / Character/ Texture: fibrous

Inspirational links:

Anna Maria Orru
Architect / Research Curator / Connective tissue

Orru Biography:

Anna Maria Orru has over 12 years of experience working as a sustainable architect and researcher both in the UK, Sweden and abroad. The foundation of her work is deeply embedded in curating research (R&D), biomimicry, and natural system design, thus providing an innovative approach in the field of sustainable design, art, urbanism and architecture. She believes that nature provides imaginative and creative solutions to the complex issues we are currently grappling within the built environment. As a passionate advocate of environmentally sustainable design, she has carried out research in this subject area throughout her career. Her portfolio embarks from a wide range of experience in a number of design and research studios including Ove Arup, Grimshaw Architects, Shigeru Ban and Exploration Architecture.

Her research for ARUP was published in ‘Drivers of Change 2006’ by Editorial 2G, embodying future scenario building using a systems-thinking methodology lens. This diverse experience has given her greater consideration to the forces driving global change, and the role we can play in creating a more sustainable future.

She behaves as a connective tissue, working in the interstitial spaces between disciplines by bringing a variety of diverse disciplines and talents to the table to tackle issues around climate change more creatively; be it through artistic interventions, sensory design or experience design. Currently, she is involved on projects dealing with food and its relationship to the city. She works on these projects also in collaboration with FoAM situated in Brussels, and played an instrumental role in the setup of their Nordic team in 2010.

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