Allotment (2014-ongoing) is a social experiment and a participatory research programme of events and online research blog exploring the relationship between food, politics, culture and society.
The project looks at how we are socialised through food, its value, politics and distribution, as well as social agendas and economics that both dictate and are delineated by supply and demand in the food industry. Cultural politics associated with food, ritual and mealtime culture time were explored through participatory interactive dinners, discussions and talks.
The project was triggered by a chance conversation with a 9-year-old school boy who proclaimed that “meat comes from Tesco’s” with immense certainty. This raised an awareness of the extent of the changes in the relationship to food, landscape, production and culture that urbanization and technology have brought on. Allotment started as an experimental programme of events that explore the themes of hierarchy, rationing, landscape, social construction and revolution. Considering food as a fundamental building block through which social systems, cultures and societies are (in)formed, the project employs interactive participatory events both as a research tool and method of production. The framework for research, discussion, menu and interactive activities was informed by the issues explored.
The project functions outside the arts sector as well as within it; set up as an open community for people interested in the relationship between food, social structures and politics. Allotment performance meals and workshops have taken place internationally in Austria, The Netherlands, Portugal, Turkey and the UK, in private and public spaces, galleries, farms and institutions such as MAAT and SALT.