Have you ever enjoyed a meal together with friends and strangers alike?
Can you imagine a square hosting a big table that neighbours share for dinner in summer nights?
Is it possible to raise awareness and fight food waste by launching a public banquet prepared out of leftovers?
In recent years numerous initiatives worldwide have arisen using food to challenge the way people engage in urban public spaces. Combining various backgrounds such as art, architecture, activism or anthropology, this interventions have been put into practice without any commercial purpose but holding multiple intentions that range from enjoyment and celebration to education or political protest.
City Cook Book is a collection of initiatives enhancing public spaces by bringing people together through food culture. It aims to explore how food can be an effective tool to both transform our common spaces into sites for encounter and social interaction, as well as to engage with larger issues that shape our everyday urban life. Through its digital platform and its print-it-yourself publication, City Cook Book intents to visualize this phenomena, reflect upon it and inspire other initiatives.
City Cook Book is a non-profit initiative developed by Claudia Sánchez and Íñigo Cornago.
Proyecto financiado por Ayudas Creación Injuve
Project funded by Ayudas Creación Injuve
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On Sunday, October 4th 2015, 500 Plates brought together 500 Akron, Ohio residents from each of the city’s 22 neighborhoods at one, 500 foot-long table on the Innerbelt Freeway for a shared community meal.
Prior to this main meal, we collected a favorite household recipe from one resident in each of Akron’s 22 neighborhoods. These recipes were printed onto custom designed stoneware plates which was used at the community meal, creating a unique way to connect Akronites from different neighborhoods. Each guest at 500 Plates took home their plate as an extension of the meal.
We also created a toolkit to help neighborhood partners carry out smaller community meals in their neighborhoods. In addition, we created 22 unique tables, one for each neighborhood, which serve as gathering points for each neighborhood to hold their neighborhood meals.
The meal took place on a stretch of the Innerbelt Freeway near downtown that was closed to vehicle traffic that day and is permanently closing in 2016. This event also served as a way for residents to reimagine what the freeway could potentially be used for. Sixty-three tables connected atop the concrete, creating one continuous 500 foot-long table. Attendees were guided by volunteer table hosts to discuss their personal stories as well as the challenges and opportunities of their neighborhoods, public space, and the future of their city. A 500-foot long table runner invited participants to write or draw their ideas for the Innerbelt.
The League of Creative Interventionists works with communities to reimagine the social and physical landscapes of their cities and prompt curiosity, creativity, and connection.