The Center’s SEED-O-MATIC was featured at this year’s Variety Showcase in Portland, Oregon, hosted by the Culinary Breeding Network. The vending machine was stocked with seeds supplied by the Open Source Seed Initiative and visitors could find out more about their seeds by visiting various stations at the Variety Showcase event.
Photo Credits: Heather K. Julius
Endophyte Club: Amsterdam was hosted by Hackers & Designers Summer Academy, 2017: On & Off the Grid.
ON AND OFF THE GRID
What if biotechnology was hackable and accessible to all? It wouldn’t need to be anything fancy, just groups of hobbyists experimenting with what they might do with biology that is interesting. Just like in the early days of computing most biotechnology happens in large laboratories, and the experiments that are pursued are chosen because they are deemed to be profitable or worthy. And just like in computing, the early purveyors of mainframes as profit boxes or war machines missed the future as it oozed in the society around them.
The Rare Endophyte Collectors Club is an attempt to do something interesting biotechnology off the grid with hobbyists and curiosity. What are the microbes that live inside of plants, how do they act, and what might they do if we moved them over there instead? We are not making any promises, but endophytes might be useful as BioFertilizers and BioPesticides. That could help reduce our need to live on the industrial chemical grid.
Getting off the grid means creating a new infrastructure for doing biology, agriculture and food that does not require petrochemical inputs and revitalizes the soils, water and air that surround us. But it starts with a new of seeing the world. Looking for endophytes is a new of seeing.
In May, we set up an outpost for the Center in the North of Norway. We invited writer and podcaster Nicola Twilley and our previous scientific collaborator Dr. Wendy Russell to join us on this adventure. We spent a week together based in a cottage on the outskirts of Melbu, exploring both local and global food systems.
Our host was Nordland Akademy for Art and Science, where Maria and Johan helped organise our itinerary so we could meet a range of interesting local food producers. We spent most of the week visiting a variety of farms and a fish processing factory and discussing the questions that arose. These questions were compiled and discussed with locals during the Planetary Sculpture Supperclub: Arctic Circle Edition that was prepared by chef Neumann and served at his restaurant Neptunn Bar and Grill at the historic fish oil factory in Melbu.
Melbu is on the island Hadseløya which is part of the cluster of islands that make up Versterålen and Lofoten. This was our homebase, and the map below shows the sites we visited.
1. Skavli Brygghus
We visited Liss Mari who runs her micro brewery 10 minutes away from the Evenes Airport. Before we arrived, we talked with Nordland Akademy and Chef Neumann about making a seaweed beer for the Planetary Sculpture Supperclub. Maria and Johan harvested bladder wack seaweed, Neumann dried it, and Liss Mari brewed it! We went to pick up the beer on our first day and also got a tour of the brewery and a delicious meal.
2. Ivar Utbjør and His Boer Goats
On the second day, our first visit was to Ivar the boer goat farmer. He told us about this unique breed of goat that originated in South Africa, but is very well suited to the climate in the north of Norway. He raises the goats mainly for meat, but they also perform useful ecosystem services, by eating their way through fields of the highly invasive Persian hogweed (Tromsø Palme). Like most livestock in this area, they are kept in barns over winter, and then allowed to graze free in the mountains in the summer months. The goats are particularly well suited for climbing the steep mountains right behind this little farm.
3. Neptun Herring Oil Factory, Museum Nord
We were given a tour of the old factory and learned about the history of Melbu’s fish oil industry. Modernised in 1910 by Christian Frederiksen, this factory invested in cutting edge technologies to produce vast amounts of fish oil by literally screwing the local herring population (in a screw press system). During his lifetime the factory was very successful. However, in the 60s there was a decline in the fish oil business due to a collapse in the herring population, a reduction in demand for fish oil and overproduction of product. This eventually caused the factory to shut down in 1987. The adverse effects on the local community partly due to the overfishing of herring in the 1960s, is one of many stories worldwide that serve as poignant reminders that no matter how industrious humans are, we are always relient on larger ecosystem flows.
4. Taen Beach
There’s a growing global trend of harvesting seaweed, both for eating and for other products (for example organic vegan lube). There is a great diversity of seaweed available around Melbu, so we were interested in foraging a few different varieties and taste testing them. We visited the beach where Nordland Akademi harvested the bladderwack seaweed for the beer that Skavli brewed. Seaweed is still an unusual ingredient for the locals, but it is available in abundance, and chef Neumann uses it at his restaurant occasionally. Will we see the trend growing in Melbu?
5. Nøisomhed Farm
We visited Renee at his farm and learned about his biodynamic farming practices. We talked about his wonderful smelling compost that is at the center of his work, working with animals and growing vegetables, creating an ecological balance and providing delicious, local food. Choosing resiliency over efficiency, he was definitely an anomaly in the regional countryside, but hopefully his passion and success can inspire others to farm in ways that leave the earth replenished rather than exhausted.
6. Norway Seafood, Fish Processing Factory
Norway Seafood is a fish factory that can process up to 6000kg of fish an hour. We were given a tour of their facilities. They receive fish from small 100kg catches by local fishermen to 100,000kg catches from trawlers in the area. These fish are then processed – cleaned, filleted, frozen and packaged – and shipped all around the world for consumption. Every part of the fish is used, even the scraps are collected, frozen into large blocks, and sold as food to a mink farm in Finland. This state of the art facility is one of the factories that makes Norway the largest worldwide exporter of fish.
7. Nordtun Farm
Nordtun is a small-scale dairy producer in Andøya, housing 20 cows. Instead of selling exclusively to Tine (Norway’s largest producer of dairy products) Nordtun farm’s owners make a variety of delicious hard and soft cheeses that they sell in a small shop at the farm. In addition to cows and chickens, Nordtun is home to a gregarious group of llamas that provide great farm entertainment.
8. Inga Sami Siida
We also spent a few hours with a Sami reindeer herder to learn about her animals and the history of reindeer in the region. The reindeer are essentially free-range in the warmer months, spending their days searching for food. Herders use GPS to keep track of their herd. Before departing we were able to taste reindeer heart and also feed the human-friendly reindeer some tasty lichen clumps.
Planetary Sculpture Supper Club, Arctic Circle edition
The Planetary Sculpture Supper Club is a collection of foods, recipes and stories that typify some of the ways humans unconsciously sculpt the planet’s biosphere through eating habits, flavour preferences and food technologies. We hold this semi-regular Supper Club in order to explore the co-evolution of gastronomy and larger ecological, technological and political systems. As a conclusion to our residency we hosted a planetary sculpture supper club at the Neptune restaurant, serving food from the producers we have visited and cooked by Chef Neumann. Each course was served with a few questions that served as prompts for conversations with the diners about the local and global food system. For example, should we eat less fish or should we eat farmed fish?
This residency was supported by the Nordland Academy of Arts & Sciences, Museum Nord, Neptun Arts/Science Lab, Arts Council Norway, Nordland County Council.
Even in dark times, people find ways and reasons to celebrate. It is very easy to imagine dystopian speculative futures these days, but at the center we thought it might be productive to imagine positive futures. Hence we prompted the culinary students and art+design students to collaborate to imagine future festivals and celebrations. All celebrations are made up at some point, and if repeated enough, become culture. We wanted to think about and imagine what will be worth celebrating in the future.
After 3 days of working together brainstorming, planning and testing, the students presented their work to staff and students from both colleges. It was very enjoyable having the art+design and culinary students working together, and we think they learnt a lot from each other’s processes, ways of working and even how they talk about their ideas and work.
We worked closely with the wonderful Elaine Sikorski from Kendall College who expertly guided the students through the culinary development of their projects, making sure all the dishes not only looked good, but tasted delicious! See below for the results.
This team imagined a festival called “Balancing Act” and developed three dishes that highlighted and aimed to counteract damage done to local ecosystems, looking at land, water and air.
This team imagined a future holiday that celebrates forests, taking inspiration from the circular aspects of forest ecosystems and encouraging farming to de-industrialize.
This team imagined a dirt day holiday that reconnects diners with the living aspects of soil in a future where hydroponics and aeroponics have come to dominate agriculture.
During their presentations both SAIC and Kendall college students and staff were present to taste and ask questions about the future festivals the students had imagined.
Photo Credits: Photos were taken by SAIC students Parker Wang, Ravina Puri and Daniela Amorim Reis, and the center.
We are looking for a graphic designer or architect to help us create images for a number of projects. These images will take the form of architectural collages, posters, illustrations, model making, and slide design for the summer of 2017.
An ideal candidate will be located in Porto, Portugal, although some of the work can be completed remotely. This is a freelance role that includes a set hourly fee. Hours may fluctuate from week to week, but each week there will be at minimum 15 hours of work. The job will run from June to August with the possibility of a longer term engagement.
The Center for Genomic Gastronomy is an artist-led think tank that examines the biodiversity and biotechnologies of human food systems. Visit here to learn more about our work: www.genomicgastronomy.com/work
— Graphic Design & Illustration
— The ability to draw freehand and digitally
— Proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite software
— The ability to create diagrams, infographics, maps and other forms of visual communication
— 2-D Architectural illustrations that help clients imagine exhibitions, restaurants, and other kinds of spaces
— An interest in experimenting with collage (both digital and analogue)
— 3D design
— Architectural model making
— Organizational skills, attention to detail and ability to communicate clearly
— Fluent in English
DESIRED BUT NOT REQUIRED
— Interest in book design and typesetting skills
— Ability to use GIS and/or visualize complex datasets through infographics and charts
— Video and animation
We are primarily looking for a high-level of digital design competency, visualization skills and the ability to work independently and incorporate feedback during an intense and iterative process of design.
You do not need to know anything specifically about food, ecology or climate change, but we are looking for someone who will be interested and willing to learn more.
Interested applicants should send their portfolio (as .pdf, max 15MB), a CV, and a description of why they are interested in the position to: email@example.com
Applications are due by the end of the day Sunday, May 28th, 2017. Phone interviews will be scheduled for the first week in June.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have about the application process.
A Supper Club Event in Melbu, Norway
Saturday, May 27th
6pm @ Neptun Restaurant
PSSC: ACE is a collaboration between Center for Genomic Gastronomy (Artists in Residence at Neptun Art/Science Lab) & Neumann’s Røykeri & Supperclub, Melbu.
Planetary Sculpture Supper Clubs explore the ways planetary patterns change in response to how and what humans eat. How do we sculpt the planet through our food choices? What is the relationship between taste & place within a globalized food network?
The Planetary Sculpture Supper Club: Arctic Circle Edition at the Neptune Restaurant in Melbu will look at how a community at the periphery of the global food network takes advantage of its regional resources, and where it bumps up against the limits of seasonal eating and government policy.
Does geographical remoteness and an extreme environment create conditions for re-localizing a food culture or necessitate a reliance on exchange in order to eat well? Working with Chef Neumann of the Neptune restaurant, we will co-present a meal which embodies the challenges and joys of eating at the edge of the Earth.
From smoked boar goat, to sea urchin, to seaweed beer, we can expect a range of treats and surprises from the Arctic Circle.
Images: Collecting seaweed to bring to the brewery.
Our ongoing project Smog Tasting will be exhibited in the show G/rove, which opens this week in New Delhi. Smog meringues will be served from six different locations in the city.
Curated by Bhavna Kakar and Adwait Singh at Gallery Latitude 28, G/rove “invites a careful digging of the past and reading of myth lore and science fiction to excavate disused frames and imaginative designs that would help us build a metaphorical arc preparatory for the times of ecological turbulence ahead.”
Thanks to the help of the curators, gallery, and local students, visitors to the exhibition will get a literal taste of the air quality from different locations in the city. The Smog Tasting photos posted here are courtesy of our collaborators in New Delhi.
Show Dates: 2nd – 26th February 2017 | 11 am – 7 pm
Monday – Saturday (Sunday by appointment)
Cocktail Reception: 4th February 2017 | 7 pm
Venue: Gallery Latitude 28
F 208 Lado Sarai
New Delhi, India – 110030
T: +11 46791111
Bhajju Shyam | Elin Màr Øyen Vister | Forager Collective | Krishnaraj Chonat | Nobina Gupta | Radhika Agarwala | Rithika Merchant | Seema Kohli | Suchismita Mohanty Ram | Shweta Bhattad | Tanya Busse | TASC Ablett & Brafield | The Center for Genomic Gastronomy