Food nourishes us. That’s already plenty, as anyone who’s ever been really hungry can confirm. But food does more than that. It makes us who we are – and that’s the focus of this year’s Stadt Land Food festival, from 1–3 October, 2016. This harvest
weekend, Markthalle Neun and its surroundings will become a tasty potluck of good food, the prerequisites for its fair production and thoughts on this central question: How much of our identity do we derive from what we eat? Everyone can recall happy times spent eating a meal in company. Those times are part of our identity – the building blocks of the soul.
“Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food,” wrote author and food activist Michael Pollan. Food is perhaps the most direct way to experience culture. With the industrialization of agriculture and food production, food has become progressively more abstract. We want to find our way back to food – and the social aspect of eating – and re-infuse it with soul.
So the Stadt Land Food festival will be asking: How do Berlin and Brandenburg – its fields, pastures and city gardens – taste? Eleven Stadt Land Food Labs will explore the processes necessary to make cheese, sausages, coffee and more. We’ll be getting the chance to experience food with all of our senses. Approximately 150 farmers, artisanal food producers and vendors will make up our big Stadt Land Food Market on the streets bordering Markthalle Neun. Stadt Land Food is bringing the craft of food back to the city and the people. At the “Wir haben es satt!” (We’re fed up!) convention for agripolitics by Meine Landwirtschaft (My Agriculture) – an association of 50 farming, environmental and natural conservation, animal welfare and consumer advocacy organizations – nutrition and food production will be controversially and knowledgeably addressed in presentations and podium discussions.
Food is identity. Food is home. And: it can speak of the loss of those things. At one end of the table, we have those who brought their recipes with them into the unknown. And at the other, we have those who have forgotten how home tastes. One project that strives to find new visions regarding food and integration with and for immigrants and new residents, is Souk Berlin. The festival will also include street food stands with and by refugees, and a dinner series from women of highly diverse cultural circles. When we sit down and share a meal with people forced to leave their homes, we understand more deeply what home is, and how it feels to lose it. That’s the idea behind the big Heimattafel, at which we’ll be cooking, eating and talking together.
Stadt Land Food is a celebration of food culture. A greener week, with events of all colors, shapes and sizes. Let’s cook, eat, discuss. Formulate wishes. Ask the question what a good culinary life demands, for all involved. And search for the answer together – openly, optimistically, with gusto.