Seeding the Commons was programme of art and research from Custom Food Lab, curated and project managed by Cherry Truluck and supported by Arts Council England. It explored art-making as a practice of commoning knowledge systems around food. It includes a series of convivial gatherings and offerings in the form of workshops, artist publications and discursive events alongside the development of artist-led community food growing practices with the Locavore Growing Project.
Taking the innate potentiality and complexity of the Seed as its starting point, artists and community were immersed in urgent discourse around the creative production and mediation of knowledge in the Commons, exploring synergy between contemporary art, community growing and activism.
Seeding the Commons saw Custom Food Lab establishing a translocal network of arts practice and community engagement. The project kicked off with a 4 week childrens’ holiday club, which offered children the opportunity to work with an amazing range of creative facilitators to explore their connection to the earth. Art/research partnership Another Provision joined the children to produce a Community Feast and host a discussion with community members. In the role of ‘Care Taker‘, artist Jack Ky Tan guided the Custom board as they assimilated the learning developed through the project in the governance of the organisation. An Artists Steering Group including Alice Tatton Brown, Hilary Powell and Sage Brice nourished the project ‘ecosystem’, monitoring emerging conditions and patterns, reflexively embedding learning. Commissioned artists included Alise Kirtley, Cherry Truluck, Raju Rage, Helga Mendes DaFonseca and Zoe Palmer and in our Entangled Roots thread, Francine Hajilou and Em Ghassempour established a Reading/Walking Group for womxn of colour, whilst Charmaine Jacobs curated a series of Community Knowledge Share workshops.
At the culmination of the project – Into the Wind with the Seeds, Custom Food Lab worked in partnership with the Gaia Foundation to deliver the 2023 Seed Gathering on 11th and 12th February 2023 and create a series of publications.