You Are Food

“Artecitya. Envisioning the City of Tomorrow” (2014-2018) is a collaboration between 9 partners from around Europe. The project brings together artists, architects, town planners and citizens to re-create the cities we want to live in. The priority is to stimulate a vigorously innovative approach to the concept of urban life taking into account the sociological evolution and people’s needs.

You Are Food, Thessaloniki (2016)
My work as a food systems planner and artist working with Artecytia Thessaloniki demonstrates food culture and identity as a catalyst for local activism and food as a political subject. Three areas were explored.

The Garden
Gardeners transform urban spaces and act as change agents in their communities. Working with three different grassroots garden organizations the concept of community and activism were explored through personal narratives.

Taste Test
This experiment is part of my ongoing work to challenge how we express our experience and perception of food. Conducted in in public space, participants were invited to work with a partner to experience “the taste of the city” and use non-verbal methods to communicate the experience. In this experiment food is metabolized into elemental experiences where participants confront each flavor that makes up taste. If taste is the symphony, then flavors are the instruments. When confronted, how do we react? What are our preferences? How does this challenge the way we think of food? Does this challenge the way we think of the city?

“Taste” is composed of 5 distinct flavors; salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami that we experience in different regions of our mouth. The five different flavors were composed from foraged foods found in public spaces in Thessaloniki and presented on a specially designed Prosphora (Greek Church Bread) stamped with the word YEFSE (Taste) in five parallel compartments.

Food Waste Campaign- Artist Statement
Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year – that’s approximately 1.3 billion tonnes- gets lost or wasted. The food annually wasted in Europe could feed 200 million people. In Greece, food is lost or wasted mainly at later stages in the supply chain. That means the greatest amount of food- waste happens AT home, in your kitchen.

How did we get here? Most people don’t intend to waste food, yet this problem is familiar to us all. With the best of intentions, we buy and cook more than we need and our busy lives don’t make time to clean out and organize the refrigerator. Or we are not familiar with basic food safety and preservation techniques that help to protect and extend the life of food.

My work as a food systems planner and practicing artist working with Artecytia Thessaloniki is to demonstrate food culture and identity as a catalyst for local activism. So called “Food activism” is an emerging term to describe how people speak to, negotiate or cope with power through food.

Whether we are aware of it or not, every bite we take negotiates a geopolitics, as does everything we buy, and everything we waste. The Artecytia residency is about art for social change. In this way we are process oriented and results driven to facilitate and instigate art as a social neutralizer in-order to inform self-awareness and change locally.

During my time in Thessaloniki I have begun to meet many of the people who care deeply about food through different lenses: urban gardeners, chefs, students, families, farmers, business owners, and academics. Throughout these conversations, food waste at both the global and local level has been a topic of great concern. I am pleased to partner with many of these people to launch the Thessaloniki food waste campaign.

Our goal is to enhance understanding of the global and local food waste problem in Thessaloniki and to motivate and empower people to change their habits and reduce waste on an individual level.