London, UK / 29th October – 2nd November 2012
An interdisciplinary, cross-departmental workshop run for AcrossRCA, a week of collaborative projects exploring new ideas, approaches and skills at the Royal College of Art.
The week was very much about practical, hands-on learning, using food, and the idea of the kitchen cycle as a way in to discussing and drawing analogies between many other subjects from geopolitics, the idea of linear progress and perpetual growth, Monoculture, Permaculture design, to performance.
The starting point was a field trip to Norfolk, sourcing food, foraging, and visiting farms and people engaged in production on the historic Holkham and Salle estates, to gain a broad perspective on growing from small-scale production to large-scale input-intensive industrial agriculture; Monoculture to Permaculture. We spoke to Katie in the Walled Garden, Paul director of farming at Holkham, Jolyon churchwarden at Salle, and Philip, a near-self-sufficient violinmaker and beekeeper.
This was not only an opportunity to re-connect with where our food comes and reiterate the importance of direct sensory experience, but also a group-building exercise.
Nissa Nishikawa led movement workshops helping to facilitate a process of re-sensitization both to ourselves and to the natural world. Sasa Stucin led a jelly workshop, extracting gelatin from the trotters of the suckling pig we brought back from Norfolk, “Good Architecture and good food are the essential foundations of every healthy society”.
As we now face a ‘food-crisis’ (prices are expected to go up 30% this year with massive crop failures globally esp. of wheat in Russia and USA), this could be a crucial time to re-imagine food and work towards the transition from a society of over-consumption and immense wastefulness to an interconnected society of designers, artists, writers, producers and farmers working together to create localized, regenerative food systems.