Eating Edinburgh: a taste of Edible Cities

On Wednesday morning I attended the launch of Edible Cities, a two day workshop which explored many of the different issues surrounding food production and consumption in our city. The event encompassed art, policy-making, cartography, urban planning, food-tasting…a real interdisciplinary smorgasbord! (excuse the bad puns).

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The morning kicked off with a talk by Marianne Paget from the Edinburgh City Council. Marianne and her team have envisioned and created a plan called Edible Edinburgh: A Sustainable Food City Plan, which aims to support, encourage and foster collaboration between independent producers, providers and consumers of food in our city. The team have set out several areas in which they can aid businesses in pursuing good practice, including health and well-being, land use, sustainability, and the economy. In an urban environment it is easy to feel dislocated from food production beyond the shop shelf, and this is a fantastic scheme to literally get the urbanites among us to ‘think outside of the box’. Most impressive of all was Edible Edinburgh’s ‘Feed the Five Thousand’ lunch, where lunch was provided to five thousand city residents, created from quality food which had been rejected from supermarket shelves (such as wonky carrots)!

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The room was full of an array of different maps of Edinburgh, from nineteenth-century drawings of food supply routes, to good old Google Maps. We got stuck in to examining and plotting out on these maps, which was a fascinating process, literally charting the route of food through our city, from pasture to plate, in a very tangible way.

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On Thursday I managed to pop back to eca to catch the opening of the exhibition — Urbane – which concluded the workshop. This was a conceptual and visual feast (I’ll stop with the food puns here). We were treated to sample chai teas and Pickerings gin, while soaking up the range of graphic art, annotated maps, writings, and objets d’art. The fruits (enough puns, really now) of labour produced during Edible Cities was proof of how fertile (no more!) open dialogue between different disciplines can be when imagining future growth and development.

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By Pippa Carter, ILW Student Ambassador

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