Tag Archives: Food

Garlic Harvest a Performance

Allotment (1) took place on 8 July 2010 at Allotment Plot @MERLReading; the Garlic and Radar Onions were harvested. Please note this action was filmed as a Performance and will be shown in exhibition format at a later date.

Onion Radar

Before the performance Ella Montt was sitting in the shade of the Mulberry tree and made the following observations about the Allotment Plot. The day started off slightly damp and cooler to the previous high temperature, but by 11am on arrival at the Plot, the clouds had started to drift apart a little to let the sun break through. The humidity in the Garden at MERL had rocketed and the atmosphere was sweating. Borage and Pot Marigolds continue to flower and bees are visiting. Cosmos and Nasturtium flowers have also blossomed, but the plants growth seems somewhat stunted as does much of the vegetables, presumably because lack of moisture in the soil. All plants are steadily yet slowly growing. Brassicas are recovering under the influence of the heavy metal CDs, which have deterred or maybe thwarted the Pigeons appetites. Tomatoes are beginning to flower and fruits form, the side shoots will not be removed from the plants, they will be allowed to bush out in all directions.

Squash Flower allotment107

During the Garlic and Onion harvesting Performance sentences from Deluzes & Guattari book A Thousand Plateaus – Rhizome were recited pertaining to the Rhizome and plant life. The book became buried under the Garlic and Onion bulbs. The recorded results for the harvest were as follows:

Onions Radar originally planted 36 sets. Onions Radar harvested 20 bulbs with stalks = 1lb 8oz = 680grams once stalks were removed bulbs weighed 1lb 5oz = 600grams

Garlic Thermidrome, 14 cloves were originally planted. Garlic Thermidrome harvested 13 cloves which weighed 12oz = 320grams.

Garlic Sprint, originally planted 15 cloves, harvested 14 cloves which weighed 13oz = 360grams. Garlic Sprint 14 Scapes harvested which weighed 4oz = 100grams.

Some Rainbow Chard was also harvested which weighed 6 oz = 180grams.

Garlic Harvest

This week Detroit featured in an interesting article on urban regeneration through food growing in empty spaces. The decline of the car industry in the town has made way for food cultivation. Any where that can grow plants that can be harvested as free food for local people is shaping how we can live outside of business consumed society.

Allotment July2Allotment July

Tolhurst Stockfree Organic Vegetables – March 2007 to February 2008

Kate Corder’s film Tolhurst Stockfree Organic Vegetables – March 2007 to February 2008 is currently on view at the Museum of English Rural Life until July 16th 2010. The film documents the growing seasons and biodiversity of the Tolhurst vegetable business over a twelve month period. Running time 124mins.  MERL’s opening hours are:

  • 9am to 5pm, Tuesday to Friday
  • 2pm to 4.30pm, Saturday and Sunday Tolhurst Film Flyer

Allotment Installation

A garden shed, although not essential, is an important part of an allotment holders working space. The shed acts as a container for contemplation, thought patterns, rumination over tasks to be actioned or fulfilled, a place for rest from elemental phenomenon over a cup of tea and sandwich, a storage area for tools, seeds and any other random useful piece of gardening equipment, a radio, a thermos.

Allotment Intallation

‘Growing your own’ can be a defining moment for a community or an individual in establishing a link to independent food production, in food deserts this is essential where there are no shops that sell fresh fruit and vegetables in urban or rural areas. Dependency on consumerism from supermarkets has meant the loss of many local greengrocers and the ability for many to grow food. The history of having access to land on which to grow has evolved over time, according to what part of the world one lives in. The term “Allotment” can mean different things to different people. The “Allotment Acts” of the UK refer to providing plots of land for gardening type food production, however in America the Dawes Allotment Act of 1887 sought to divide up the Reservation land for Native American Indians and failed in what it set out to do. To establish one’s own access to growing fresh fruit and vegetables, you do not need to have your own allotment, or garden space, imaginative use of containers and window boxes can give good yields.

The consumerism from growing and gardening is enormous in the UK. A packet of seeds can be so tiny and seem so simple, but the products on sale that are out there waiting for financial exchange are infinite. Seed saving is something that many people do as part of their automatic growing process, seed exchanges are not uncommon, recently as part of Art staged in protest at Cop 15 one of the activities was a soup kitchen where the artists involved, dealing with the real, grow and collect their own vegetable seeds some of these seeds are allegedly becoming illegal under EU law. Save seeds from organic fruits and vegetables, you never know when we might need them.

Allotment Installation (2)

‘Farmville’ Perception of Virtual Food Growing

Arts and Ecology posted a link to the doors of perception today on twitter about “Farmville” the largest game application used on Facebook, 62 million people have signed up to the application since June 2009, 22 million people on average are logging on everyday to see how their crops are growing. The idea behind “Farmville” is that one has one’s own virtual growing space, one can plant seeds, harvest the crops before they die (the plants growth times are all time controlled), and one is able to give fruit trees and other gifts to friends and neighbours. Given the amount of individuals using the application, what does this say about human activity and growing space? It is a virtual reality, but is a major clue to social reinvention.

Allotment Undug Method