Urbanist

New metaphors for sustainability: the timeless meal

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Carolyn Steel calls herself a ‘food urbanist’, and she brings a notion of the ‘good life’ to our series of New metaphors for sustainability

What is it we’re trying to sustain? For me, the meal is the emblematic, wonderful situation that sums up the whole point of sustainability.
I think in metaphor all the time and food has become this way of seeing the world not just in terms of ‘how are we going to feed ourselves in future?’ – this kind of doom and gloom thing – but also in terms of asking ‘what kind of society is it that we are trying to create as well as sustain?’.
When you talk about food, there’s a tendency to talk about ‘how much grain can you produce on that much land with that much water’. That’s very important, but you have to relate every conversation you have about food with the kind of life that you are talking about. It’s about a vision of society, an idea of the good life.
The table is a place where you don’t just share food, but you share ideas, you share love, you share conversation.
It’s a beautiful metaphor of the kinds of things that we’re trying to sustain. It’s society. It’s ‘good life’ in every possible sense – not just good in terms of wonderful food – but also good in terms of the ethics of what you eat. If I am hungry I have a practical problem. If you are hungry, I have an ethical problem.
This business of sitting around a table with other people, the decorum of the table, and the sharing food – it brings the social relevance of sustainability into the conversation.
A timeless meal, a meal that is enjoyed through time that has a past that we all intuitively understand, but a future as well, sums up for me the idea that food is life on earth.
Carolyn is included in our film.
Photo: Feast on the Bridge, 2009, curated by Clare Patey. Photo by Tim Mitchell.

 

 

“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)

The editors are Robert Butler and Wallace Heim. The associate editor is Kellie Gutman. The editorial adviser is Patricia Morison.

Robert Butler’s most recent publication is The Alchemist Exposed (Oberon 2006). From 1995-2000 he was drama critic of the Independent on Sunday. See www.robertbutler.info

Wallace Heim has written on social practice art and the work of PLATFORM, Basia Irland and Shelley Sacks. Her doctorate in philosophy investigated nature and performance. Her previous career was as a set designer for theatre and television/film.

Kellie Gutman worked with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for twenty years, producing video programmes and slide presentations for both the Aga Khan Foundation and the Award for Architecture.

Patricia Morison is an executive officer of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, a group of grant-making trusts of which the Ashden Trust is one.

Go to The Ashden Directory

Almost Utopia


For the fourth and final installment of
Almost Utopia, the gallery at 18th Street Arts Center will be dedicated to an unprecedented investigation of 100 Car-Less Angelinos and it will tell their stories of living in Los Angeles.

Public Discussions are as follows:

November 6, 9:30PM
Ride-ARC Ride on Santa Monica Car and Pedestrian Culture: Alex Amerri

November 11, 7:OOPM
“Walking in LA” Panel/Discussion with:
Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Professor, UCLA Department of Urban Planning; author of Sidewalks: Conflict and Negotiation Over Public Space
Herbert Medina, Professor, Loyola Department of Mathematics
Nigel Raab, Assistant Professor, Loyola Department of History
DJ Waldie, author of Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir, Real City:Downtown Los Angeles Inside/Out and Where We are Now: Notes from Los Angeles, Public Information Officer for the City of Lakewood
Damon Willick, Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Art History, Loyola Marymount University

November 14, 2pm
“Transportation and the Future of Los Angeles”
Jessica Meaney, Transportation Planner, So. CAL Assoc. of Governments
Browne Molyneux, Journalist and Blogger, Shame Train LA
Claude Willey, Artist, Urbanist and Educator, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, California State University, Northridge

Others to be confirmed

Go to EcoLOGIC LA