On Friday the 20th of September, we have been working with METABOLIC and Alastair Fuad-Luke on a workshop to map the food habits of our guests. Results were useful to start discussing about fresh and local food consumption.

Type of activity
Date of the activity
September 2013

Location of the activity
Amsterdam / Pakhuis de Zwijger
In the framework of the circular city program at Pakhuis de Zwijger, on Friday the 20th of September, three leading (international) thinkers in the field of community-based sustainable design gave their views on questions such as: what does a circular or sustainable city look like? How do we get there? Which design steps take us from here to there?

The speakers that tried to answer these questions were John Thackara (France), Michiel Schwarz (the Netherlands) and Alastair Fuad-Luke (Finland/UK). Alastair is a very experienced workshop facilitator, and helped us reflect upon Amsterdam’s relationships to resilient food systems.

The experimental workshop format, co-designed by Alastair Fuad-Luke together with METABOLIC and CITIES, had not been applied before. Firstly, the participants were asked to draw the food they consumed on the previous day. Afterwards they mapped their consumption of food, and waste generated, on a time line. In the second exercise, participants paired off to analyse a basket of 12 random products purchased at the most common supermarket in Holland. The ensuing discussion was based on two aspects: Is this food fresh? Is it local? The key outcome of this discussion was that there is considerable mis-understanding of what is “local” and what is “fresh”? After analysing our participants’ food patterns and talking about food freshness under different points of view, something came out clearly: There is a lot of confusion and lack of transparency in food labelling, but also in our food habits. These aspects deserve further exploration.
At the end of the afternoon, the participants had to design a fresh and local meal for a guest of their liking. The concept of circular city has been translated into the ones of “freshness” and “localism”, without significantly mention this connection during the workshop instructions, the results were quite important to understand that individual consumers’ connectivity with the local producers is a necessary step to undertake when approaching this subject.

CITIES and METABOLIC will develop additional debate and actions in the city of Amsterdam, in collaboration with Pakhuis de Zwijger later this year.

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