Monday, July 13, 2015

Food Justice Celebration at Santa Fe Art Institute

“The interpretations of food justice can be complex and nuanced, but the concept is simple and direct: justice for all in the food system, whether producers, farmworkers, processors, workers, eaters, or communities. Integral to food justice is also respect for the systems that support how and where the food is grown— an ethic of place regarding the land, the air, the water, the planet, the animals and the environment. The groups that embrace food justice vary in agendas, constituencies and focus, but all share a commitment to the definition we originally provided: to achieve equality and fairness in relation to food system impacts and a different more just and sustainable way for food to be grown, produced, made accessible and eaten.” 
  From Food Justice by Robert Gottlieb and Anupama Joshi
The sharing of food and ideas.

This past year the Santa Fe Art Institute with the guidance of director Sanjit Sethi has brought it's artist-residency program into a deep inquiry into the notion of Food Justice. This was the first in a planned annual theme-based residency program and it brought over forty artists, from all over the world, together with local activists, farmers and lovers of home grown food to creatively investigate the idea of Food Justice as it relates to New Mexico.

 “ From July 2014 through June 2015, SFAI encourages creative minds to come together and examine the territory of food justice. Together, we will ask how can we use diverse creative practices to confront inherent social, cultural and economic problems in our food system? Further, how can we bring together insights from creative fields, environmental sciences, sustainable agriculture, critical theory, and food studies to have local, national, and international impact?” 

Alexis Elton and Brett Ellison of Jubilee farms with SeedBroadcaster Chloe
When Sanjit first came to Santa Fe he reached out to the community to explore what might be a fitting theme to kick off this initiative. The economic disparities, the lack of water and access to land, the difficulties for our native  communities to have adequate access to fresh food and the food desert of Cerrillos Road were issues many locals talked about. However there are also the long-standing traditional agricultural practices that are still tightly held in Northern New Mexico. It was this juxtaposition that Sanjit felt could be explored so the Food Justice theme emerged.
Desert by Street Food Institute.
The artists were selected through an application process where they were asked to create a proposal that would address food inadequacies in New Mexico and how they might engage with community partners. It was a rigorous selection process based on the impact of the proposal as much as the individual artistic practice. As part of this theme-based year SFAI partnered with the communities along the Española Valley and many of the artists-in-resident’s created projects in collaboration with those communities. They worked closely with cultural advisers such as Roger Montoya and Todd Lopez. Artists such as Holly Schmidt, Christie Green, Yoko Inoue, and Alexis Elton created projects with students at the La Tierra Montessori School that animated discussions and actions that were far reaching into the community at large.
Installation by Christie Green addressing issues of accessibility to healthy food

 On June 20th SFAI held a celebration and culminating event to highlight the creative projects that have emerged through out this year. The community was invited to a free lunch catered by Street Food Institute. SFI works with young adults and emerging culinary students and practitioners to develop the business and technical skills to realize their entrepreneurial dreams. The students begin with hands-on training at SFI Food Trucks, where they learn how to make delicious and healthy food using sustainable business practices. The event featured artists, open studios, organizations and workshops by:
 SeedBroadcast with Grow
Alexis Elton 
Christie Green Radicle
Rodrigo Guzmán de San Martín 
Hakim Bellamy 
Jessica Frelinghuysen 
Erik Banjamins
FICTILIS:Andrea Steves & Timothy Furstnau 
Marie Dorsey 
Tina Rapp
Hye Young Kim Currents New Media Fellow
Amy Malbeouf Canada Council for the Arts Fellow

UN|silo|ED Hub at Santa Fe Art Institute
 The SeedBroadcast UN|silo|ED hub was active with our food justice soundscape, a mapping of various food justice projects, including the Grow Your Own Story installation created by students from Catherine Harris’s class in the Arts and Ecology department at the University of New Mexico, interactive work station and seed exchange.

“Working together as a class and in collaboration with SeedBroadcast has been a wonderful experience! Grow has been both a gratifying and challenging project. We are honored to have made such a positive impact on our communities in Albuquerque at UNM and Barcelona Elementary and in Santa Fe at the Santa Fe Art Institute and Monte Del Sol Charter School. Thank you to everyone who took time to participate and allow us to GROW their story. Even bigger thanks to SeedBroadcast for sharing your space and giving us a platform for Grow!” 
Catherine Harris' Intermediate Art and Ecology Class of Spring 2015 
The Mobile Seed Story Broadcasting Station was parked at the entrance of the building to broadcast seed stories, loud and clear, around the event.

This was a time to share locally sourced food and conversation in a dignified atmosphere of mutual understanding and concerns over the contemporary state of our agricultural practices the inadequacies of access to healthy food. We shared stories and concerns; we discussed each others projects, and made commitments to keep this theme alive and vibrant in the optimist hope of eventually making change.

 The following are some thoughts on Food Justice from the SFAI residents:
Listen to Alexis Elton 
Listen to Yoko Inoue
Listen to Nikki Pike

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