Meat and Two Vegetables by BothAnd Group
This project aimed to question the role that architectural agency can play in the visual translation of the complex assemblages of the Irish food system. The research is centered around a typical plate of Irish food – meat and two vegetables – centering ecology within our practice and architectural discourse. This shows how a popular dish which is framed as “local” by food marketing campaigns is actually produced across European and global landscapes. These contradictions are followed in the fieldwork which encounter Ireland’s grass and carrot seeds produced in the Netherlands, its broccoli seeds in Japan and its potato tubers in Scotland. This method of experiencing the landscape revealed the need to step into these places. It showed the complexity of global food systems, obscured by consumers who are disconnected from them. This has grown out of an exploration of the impact of pervasive grass monocultures in Ireland. The project positions this study more broadly within food systems.
The analysis unfolded landscapes of simplified ecologies designed by industrial food production. In this research, the term “landscape” is used to describe the negotiation of city, countryside, region and planet. These artificial distinctions were dissolved by the journey through the extended landscapes of this meal – taking place by foot, road, and air. Instead of the expectation that these rural landscapes would reveal themselves as natural and inevitable, the journey admitted their intensive and synthetic character. This fieldwork reveals lessons that have important implications for food policy and urban and rural planning.