FOLLOW

THE

SPREAD

About the Project

The Coronavirus pandemic emerged thanks to many converging geopolitical dynamics and mobilities. Global travels and circulation of goods, forced migration of animals and people due to deforestation and climate change, created a perfect storm. As we saw this taking place in real time, we have become more attentive to how other types of moves, circulations, and migration have – in the past or as we speak – transformed cultures and environments. For better or for worse.

The idea for this {post-pandemic} international series started in Norway in November 2020. The symposium Viral Life organized by NOBA at Vitenparken campus reflected on the complex ways the virus has affected everyday life and how it could give us a chance “reassess, rethink and make new sense(s) of the world we inhabit together, with all its varied species and networks.”

From here came the idea to initiate an international series of food related events across Norway, Canada, The Netherlands and Taiwan. We will look at food as a subject, whose circulation and politics bear comparison with the way viruses spread, and whose complex networks of power help us move past the sole focus on the virus. It is especially at this time of enhanced interest for viral spread that we feel compelled to explore, bear witness, and become accountable for the patterns of geopolitical connectedness activated by food.

Food circulates thanks to, and accompanies, humans and animals. It comes in many forms: as seeds and plants, as packaged good and as live stock. It has indigenous origins, it is imported from far away, or it is produced by a lab. Seeds are transported by winds, birds and pollinators; they catch a ride in the belly of a ship along other goods, hide in the pockets of migrants who bring them for comfort. Whether purposely or inadvertently, these mobilities may lead to snowballing unexpected effects, bringing destruction and radical transformation to the hosting landscape and those who depend on it to maintain their liveliness.

Food is a contentious subject. Before becoming food, seeds, plants and animals are imported or locally grown; invasive plant and organisms destroy and overcome native vegetations, transform a territory, forcing those who inhabit it to adapt and change their diet, or leading them to perish. Others will thrive and coexist with their indigenous kin. In many countries, ingredients that are now considered staples for iconic dishes could not be prepared, were it for those non-native plants and vegetables introduced from far away.

Our culinary events and potluck meals will feature native, invasive, and naturalized ingredients, addressing many of the above thematic threads through the words and storytelling of artists, the experience of chefs, and the expertise of scholars and scientists engaged with food, and other items gracing our – past, current, and future – tables.

Upcoming Events

Toronto

Naturalized Encounters

October 3, 2021
10:30 am EST
4:30 pm CET
10:30 pm CST

Oslo

Invasive Species Dinner

October 7, 2021
7:00 pm CET
 1:00 pm EST
1:00 am CST