Review

Festival for good food

Procession-du-haricot-saint-Sacrement

For the first time we’ve invited everyone, truly everyone, who is involved in the food business, to Kreuzberg Food is relevant. For everyone, many times a day. It makes us happy, it stills our hunger. It can communicate a certain mindset and sometimes even a lifestyle. Eating is the new celebrating, that too. It’s pop culture in the same promising way a good concert or a hopping party can lift our spirits. And the best way to celebrate is by producing, preparing, or consuming organic, regional and fair food, consciously and with commitment. That’s what life at Markthalle Neun has been revolving around for the past three years. But that also involves discourse – about the realities of life and food, beyond the rim of our own teacups. Food is pop, yes, but it’s also political, and that’s what Stadt Land Food is all about. Good food and good farming. The first weekend of October, the neighborhood surrounding Markthalle Neun will be abuzz with all kinds of activity: cheese-making, sausage-stuffing, dough-kneading and general food-making. Stadt Land Food wants to bring the origins of our food back into the city and spread the fun amongst the people. Workshops offer the opportunity to try out real, handcrafted food production and taste the results. The focus is on the products, in all their forms and states: from the planting of good ingredients, to the different stages of production, to the finished product you can see, feel, smell and taste. The idea was born as an alternative to the Berlin food trade fair “Grüne Woche” (“Green Week”), which is dominated by industrialized foods. The idea has been made reality by the Markthalle Neun team and the agricultural alliance “Meine Landwirtschaft” (“My Agriculture”) who organize the annual “Wir haben es satt!” (“We’re fed up!”) campaign. Last year, 30,000 “We’re fed up!” protesters marched on the Berlin government district to demand more transparent agriculture policies and a food culture less dominated by large-scale production. “We’re fed up!” – thanks to

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its influence within very diverse milieus and environments, this protest movement dedicated to our daily bread, and its production conditions, is already being compared to the anti-nuclear movement of the Eighties. The American science journalist Michael Pollan sees in this globally networked, cooperatively organized movement a social force that might be able to take on the internationally positioned food industry. It’s exactly those Western city-dwellers, he writes in the New York Times, who make daily consumer decisions that even Nestlé has to react to. A place like Markthalle Neun represents the opportunity to buy regional, fairly produced, and most importantly – good foods. Maybe this new food culture works especially well at markets because direct contact with producers and sellers takes the ethical decision to eat more consciously one emphatic step further: It’s just more fun to share authentic food experiences beyond rationalized supermarket culture with other people. Good food, made with love, and exchanged face to face. Stadt Land Food celebrates this food culture. A “Greener” Week with a program packed full of cooking, eating, arguing, discussing, demanding. Theoretically, truly, creatively, and in a culinary way. In the country, the harvest has been reaped from the fields. For this year. However, questions regarding the good, fair life and its culinary framework still have to be plowed. Artfully, heartily and together.

Clemens Niedenthal