Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Big Neighborhood Supper

The first planning meeting for
The Big Neighborhood Supper

My friend Maggie is currently working on an exciting project this summer! It's called The Big Neighborhood Supper and fits right in with the philosophy we espouse here at sustomability. Tom and I will both be participating by donating produce from our garden, helping prepare the meal, and possibly coming up with some menu ideas. I volunteered us to help design some of the vegan items that will be served. We'll also be hosting one of the workshops out at our community garden plot at Meadowbrook. Here's an article Maggie wrote about the project:

The Big Neighborhood Supper is a public art performance in the form of a carefully orchestrated community meal. This meal will be unique in that all of the people (and animals) that consume the meal will have had a direct hand in its production. For example the supper table will be shared by chickens and humans alike (chickens may get to attend because they laid the eggs used in the meal, the people attending will have produced a range of ingredients and elements of the meal from homebrewed beer to garden harvests!) The contributors aren’t limited to agricultural folks alone; artists and musicians are playing an active role in creating the event’s environmental components by setting up an installation-like table setting with sculptures and sound pieces.

Not only is the Big Neighborhood Supper project a meal, it’s an opportunity for community members to share resources and local knowledge surrounding the topics of local and urban food production. Throughout the summer the Big Neighborhood Supper participants are hosting public workshops on a variety of topics all over town. June featured two workshops: the first on chicken husbandry and care, the second on home beer brewing and wine fermentation. July workshops include: home food preservation (canning, dehydration and freezing how to), organic gardening techniques and foraging for wild edibles (plant identification in Meadowbrook park)! August workshops will include fall planting preparation (composting, broad forking, suggestions for fall crops in this climate, etc.) For more information on upcoming workshops check out the project blog at

Maggie Taylor, the project coordinator, says that the intentions behind this project are to investigate art as a communication tool and to establish a forum (both live and online) for the community to exchange information relating to local food production. She has been working in the medium of performance art for the past seven years. This project relates to the process-oriented, new-genre, community-based food performances began in the 1970s and resurged in the 1990s. “Not only is the work time-based, live, and interactive, it can also be perceived as socio-political,” says Taylor.

We all have the basic need to feed ourselves. In this time of air shipment, limited fuels, rising costs, depleted resources, and desire for convenient food, it's important to investigate the impact we have politically and environmentally when we make decisions regarding where we obtain our food. Learning, producing and sharing our food within a community is an important step towards returning to sustainable food-sourcing methods.

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