Associated with University of Warsaw Botanic Garden

Science café co-creation

On February 5th 2018 we organised a Big Picnic breakfast for our garden’s staff. This is the latest in a series of breakfasts which bring together staff from different departments: gardeners, curators, researchers and educators. Our aim has been to draw our staff into the BigPicnic project, to draw them into the food security debate and to co-create events and science cafes with them.  

Each breakfast has a food related theme. During our latest we discussed the art of fermentation, pickled and fermented vegetables, we tried sour cucumbers, beetroot, a radish and beetroot pickle and sauerkraut - all prepared by different staff members. We gathered recipes, discussed traditional fermentation methods and talked about the health benefits of storing fermented vegetables.

We also discussed food security, asking our staff, what issues or questions seem particularly relevant. We presented the idea of the science café and asked where they would like to see them organised and what topics are most pressing. First we brainstormed places, followed by a vote to choose the most popular, the results were: an open-air bazaar, a popular Warsaw park and a local library or cultural centre. 

Next we looked at food security, asking how our staff see the concept and what issues are particularly relevant to their food choices. Discussions varied from group to group, the researchers discussed palm oil and genetically modified seeds, The gardeners talked about organic farming, food waste and use by dates, asking the ever important question “how can vodka have a use by date?”

Our staff come from various walks of life and we hope that gathering their questions and opinions on food security will allow us to create relevant and interesting science cafes. Furthermore February’s breakfast showed that our staff’s food security questions are similar to those that have appeared in all our events throughout BigPicnic. The right to seeds and land, GMO crops, food waste, organic farming and certification have all been previously discussed. We intend to use our staff’s suggestions for locations and themes for our BigPicnic science cafes.