Following the GEN in Conversation event What does food mean to me, you, us? held on 8th July 2020, we collaborated with the Community Centred Knowledge collective to hold the first iteration of The Food Journey online. The Journey, held over three sessions (4th, 25th and 28th September), allowed participants to delve deep into the history and travels of food, plants, people and traditions, drawing on the knowledge and experience of all taking part in this fully immersive participatory workshop.
Many of the challenges that we have been facing as humans, on earth, relate to the stories that we tend to tell ourselves about what constitutes nourishment in our lives. The Food Journey experience encouraged participants to think, deeply reflect and imagine together radically restorative ways of caring for our diverse selves and for the planet we belong to.
As part of the first session process, each participant was set a task of bringing together, over a few weeks, a local cornucopia of ‘food’ experience on a tray, with guidance by the facilitator. This collection was used to co-fabricate a dynamic experience facilitated by the Community Centred Knowledge collective.
Constanza Monterrubio Solis from Chile said, “The journey itself was a rich experience to the senses. It transported me through the narrative, the sounds, the smells, the flavours and the textures. It was beautifully crafted and carefully developed, it has been a very powerful experience for me and the way I perceive and reflect about food and history.“
For the second, main session, participants were taken on a voyage across continents and time zones, whilst stirring memories and emotions as each participant embodied the experiences of the foods that have migrated with people across four continents.
In the third session, participants recouped and reflected upon what they gained through the shared experience in a conversation which connects experience between the present worlds with past and future worlds. The hope for this session was to enable each participant to go back out into the world transformed as well as equipped to transform, each of us reconnecting ways of nourishing, in ways that are considerate, compassionate and mindful.
About The Food Journey
The Food Journey has been moulded out of the lives of the billions of humans who were and are affected by the layered colonisations of life and planet across the epoch known as the Anthropocene. As such it is no simple thing. It is made up of emotional and mental material gathered over lineages. Participation in the Journey is taken, therefore, very seriously. The Community Centred Knowledge expects that this level of seriousness can lead to a transformative process and it will be matched by your commitment: to show up in the first place and to keep showing up over the course of the three separate dates given, as well as to collect together your personal cornucopia.
Nothing undertaken in these times can be taken lightly; certainly not our own or our planetary evolution.
Facilitators for The Food Journey: the Community Centred Knowledge Collective
Lead curator of The Food Journey, Mama D Ujuaje is a great grand-daughter of both Africa and the Americas who has studied and explored agriculture and horticulture and lived and worked within its agro-ecological practice in East and West Africa, the Caribbean and in the UK. She delves into the psycho-social interfaces of lifelong learning and turns her hand to cultivating the minds and hearts of people to grow agency. Mama D works to bring healing and nourishment as well as an affirmative occupation of each life and each community by weaving stories at the intersections of justice, power and resilience to rise beyond the present challenges.
Tyrone Isaac-Stuart: is an interdisciplinary artist whose style comes from Christian practice, jazz music and contemporary performance. He makes choreographies and compositions for solo and collaborative performance.
Toby Laurent Belson: is a multidisciplinary, community artist, designer and educator. He was born, raised and resides in West London. His community practice enables individual participants’ efforts to be brought together into a larger, coherent whole, working in community spaces.
Aamasade Shepnekhi: is a Shamanic ceremonialist, naturopathic guide, edutainment facilitator, wordsmith and percussionist. She co-creates within projects and organisations offering facilitation development and training to a wide range of clients creating organic processes to raise vibration.
Ma’at a Nkemi: is an aspiring visual, theatrical and digital student artist, who has been involved in co-curating the Food Journey from its first steps. She offers graphic facilitation, radical imaginaries and youthful insights.
This three-session event is part of the GEN In Conversation Series, an ongoing online programme of talks and interactive workshops designed for the curious mind. Beginning in June 2020, we are bringing together activists, academics, community practitioners, artists, writers, dancers and researchers to share their insights and lived experiences on a range of topics, including regenerative justice, land rights and colonisation, food sovereignty and agroecology, alternative economics and the conservation revolution, and much more in between!