Food and climate change, are they related? Of course they are. You must have been living under a rock if you’ve somehow missed the craze of cutting back on meat consumption. Well of course people are when more and more scientific findings link meat consumption to fatal diseases and it being seriously detrimental to the planet. I’m even currently writing a dissertation on it!
I’ve always had a fascination and love for food. My mind always wanders to what my next meal is going to be, especially now when I prepare most of the food I eat for myself. This fascination has led me to think about the potential for it to be a career path after Uni, specifically sustainable food systems and choices, which is why when I saw this exhibit advertised I knew I HAD to go.
Food bigger than the plate was held at the Victoria and Albert museum in London, which is absolutely stunning and I plan to go back for the rest of the museum soon.
It was an incredibly thought provoking experience, even for me and I am constantly questioning where food comes from and it’s sustainability.
The presentation of sustainable waste ideas were incredible to see, these included toilets without water, reusable coffee cups made from coffee waste, a dining set made out of cow manure and many more. I was amazed by the mushrooms growing from coffee waste from the museums cafe, which then uses the mushrooms in their dishes, an incredible sustainable cycle!
The farming and eating sections is where things got a bit horrible. To put it basically, our planet currently has over 7 billion people living on it who all need food, Mother Nature simply cannot cope with this, especially with us all trying to eat the way we always have without making any changes. The intense use of plastic as packaging needs to be altered and we as consumers need to use our power (which is our money) and buy our fruits and veggies PLASTIC FREE wherever we can.
Right so obviously I’m vegan, so this section hit very hard. But honestly, if any meat eaters came out of that exhibition not wanting to make change they must have not have paid attention. There was a short documentary film playing which showed production of all sorts of farmed goods, including seriously unsustainable mass lettuce and sunflower farms. It also showed how bull semen is collected from ridiculously unnaturally HUGE bulls to be used to impregnate dairy cows, and live chickens being sucked up in a machine for collection. This picture below is an art work showing the life and death of pigs in pictures on food tins, very upsetting but very true.
A utopian world of beautiful nature and harmony seems so out of reach for us now, but I like to believe if we as consumers all make BIG changes to our lifestyles and prove to big corporations and governments it’s what we want, we can get there.
I also learnt that a plastic water bottle takes 700 years to break down and disappear. I knew it was a lot but 700! If you don’t have a reusable water bottle by now PLEASE PLEASE buy one and make sure whenever you do use a plastic bottle you recycle it!
To end the exhibition, I got to make my own little snack. You choose 3 things that are important to you out of a list for your snack to be based on. I chose vegan, zero waste and delicious and this is what I got:
It was actually really refreshing and tasty! I couldn’t believe cucumber had been made into a crisp!
So that was the exhibition. I’m so glad I got to go because it’s so cool to see amazing invention ideas paving the way for sustainability. You often only hear about the bad news with climate change, because it’s a terrifying and important thing. Personally, this gives me a lot of eco-anxiety, especially with my degree choice, the planet takes up a lot of space in my brain. Seeing that people are trying to create new sustainable ways to produce food, eat food and get rid of waste was really refreshing to see. I was also so happy to see meat play a vital role in this exhibit, because it can not be ignored anymore. People need to see the ugly and gruesome to know the truth and make changes.
This exhibition has sadly stopped at the V&A now, but if you ever see anything similar and have the opportunity to go then do. Keep on educating yourself for the sake of our planet!