Rethinking Food (and consciousness)

Did you know that eating seasonally and locally could actually strengthen your immune system? That your gut microbiome is linked to your mental health? That you were born with environmental toxins consumed by your parents already imprinted on your DNA? These are just some of the myriad topics explored at Amorevore, a “food and consciousness festival” founded in 2018 in Ibiza by Peachy Keane, Jenna Ansell, and lead curator Rory Spowers, who recognized that we were as a society in the midst of a cultural shift. Through an ambitious program of talks, music, film, art, and of course, gastronomy, Amorevore engages with radical ideas across the environmental, cultural, health and economic aspects of food production and consumption. We caught up with Peachy and Rory at Further Ibiza: Evolution of the Farm for a wide-reaching conversation on food, farming, and bioregional community-building—and how the ideas behind Amorevore have the possibility to effect change far beyond Ibiza.

Q: How did Amorevore become what it is today?
Rory Spowers: Amorevore was originally a food festival and then it became more of a food, farming, and consciousness festival. What’s unique is the fact that it’s brought together everything from regenerative farming to the microbiome in the gut to the topsoil to the food on your plate. I think the public conscience is waking up to the importance of nutrition and that connection between our health and the food we eat. Now we need to establish the connection back to the soil and how food is produced—or in the case of livestock, how it’s being managed and bred—because all of these issues are so fundamentally intertwined.

Q: People are beginning to look more holistically at these topics, but can you elaborate on why you’ve drawn a connection between food and consciousness?
RS: Culture incorporates consciousness and is the overarching principle within which all of this functions. We can regenerate our health, our culture and communities through our food system by localizing food economies and regenerating soil. I think one of the great evolutions in our thinking in the last half century is systems thinking. It’s in opposition to this notion where we treat nature like a machine and believe that we can understand how nature works by reducing it to its basic components. We need to look at how all of these different components relate to each other within the system. We’ve got ourselves into so much trouble because our economics only reflect a simple, quantitative model.

Q: It would seem that with the current turmoil and the collapse of the growth economic model, it would be a good time to revisit all of this.
RS: Exactly. I think people feel disempowered because we’ve divested all of our control overall of these things to the state. But if we bring basic human needs back within community control, whether it’s a wind park cooperative or a community supported agriculture scheme, systemic benefits arise. It’s not just about the topsoil; it’s improving human relationships, health, neighborhood security.

Q: Can you talk about how some of the people and projects you’re bringing to Amorevore are exemplifying these kinds of new models?
Peachy Kane: It’s a combination of farmers, chefs, and people from the community in Ibiza but also bringing in people from around the world to join us.

RS: We had Justin Horn, a UK chef, whose restaurant Sativa in King’s Cross in London is the world’s first circular economy restaurant. It incorporates everything from vertically integrated farming systems on the site, growing produce for the restaurant itself, capturing waste from the kitchens and recycling that back into the restaurant’s energy system. Also pioneers of the natural foods movement in the UK came—brothers Craig and Greg Sams who started Green & Black’s, the first product to be organic and fair trade. We also had Eve Kalinik, a top nutritionist, and Valentine Warner, a chef with a strong emphasis on local, regional, traditional cuisine.

PK: I found Patrick Holford’s talk particularly interesting. He’s been relating gut health and mental health together for the last 30 years. And he’s talking about how your addiction to additives in foods stimulate the food industry and about taking responsibility for your own health. So with this increase in mental health issues, you know, how much of it actually derives from poor nutrition? And how much does the increase in attention disorders in children derive from nutrition? There were a lot of awakening moments.

Part creative residency, part cultural exchange, part immersive hospitality experiment, Further brings together artists, writers, scientists, artisans, farmers, designers and other place-makers.

Explore Further and read the full story here.

Friday, August 30th, 2019