Reconnecting Taste & Place: A More Just, Biodiverse & Beautiful Food System
Zack Denfeld, University of Bergen / The Center for Genomic Gastronomy
The Center for Genomic Gastronomy is an artist-led think tank that studies the biotechnologies and the biodiversity of human food systems. Our mission is to map food controversies, to prototype alternative culinary futures and to imagine a more just, biodiverse & beautiful food system. Genomic Gastronomy is lens for examining the organisms and environments that are manipulated by human food cultures.
Our research pays close attention to the ways that taste and place are included or excluded in the stories that are told about how humans might eat in the future. Taste matters because it intimately and materially connects each of us with the biospheric flows of the planet. Humans taste the world and the world is shaped by our tastes.
After tasting something we make small iterative decisions about what we might want to taste in the future. Each of us takes part in an eternal ritual of selecting, tasting, eating, and propagating ingredients and recipes every single day that we are alive. The aggregate consequence of all these decisions is the continuous reshaping of the world to reflect our preferences.
Humans collectively manipulate organisms and environments to suit our dietary needs and gustatory cravings. Market forces, public policies and geographic factors create choice architectures which constrain our options and there are downstream by- products and hidden costs to our decisions. But within our human food system enough of us prefer orange carrots, sweet apples, inexpensive grains and docile barnyard animals, that those are what tend to spread around the globe. In the 21st century, individual and collective taste is reshaping the planet. We should learn to taste better.
For this talk we have assembled a collection of artworks, recipes and stories that we think typify some of the ways humans unconsciously sculpt the planet’s biosphere through eating habits, flavour preferences and food technologies.