As a result of co-creation sessions with people of African heritage, Botanic Garden Meise is organizing an exhibition and event on African food. The exhibition will be shown in our Glasshouses for nine weeks starting from the official opening event on 24th September. On Sundays and holidays, events with tastings related to the exhibition will take place.
Talking about food in an African shop. Photo credit: Botanic Garden Meise
The exhibition focuses on 2 main items:
The face behind the food
This video installation will present seven African people living in Belgium, talking about their most cherished food memories. The stories might seem to be simple anecdotes, but they touch important questions. Are you what you eat? What happens to your identity when you have to move and put down roots in another culture? How can food build a bridge between your past and the present, between your country of origin and new friends? The stories talk about the importance of conviviality and friendship connected to food memories, about many hands in one dish, about an Africa of the past, of the village, of their childhood, that slipped away unnoticed.
Your food, my food
Here we play with the relationship between ‘exotic’ and ‘familiar’. Exotic roots, tubers and plantains, staple foods for so many people in Africa, become familiar when you prepare them in a real Belgian Frietkot. In Southern Africa, mopane worms are consumed in their tons and have a high economic value, but how about Belgium? The Belgian Government accepted 10 insects as safe food in 2014, but how far are they accepted by the Belgian public? In this exhibit we explore this. Botanic garden scientists joined forces with a researcher from Rwanda to exchange knowledge on growing wild mushrooms on coffee waste. In Brussels, young entrepreneurs collect coffee waste from restaurants for mushroom farming. In Your food, my food, we put spotlights on these projects and of course … organized a mushroom tasting!