In July, thanks to Artists-in-Context, we are holding Cross Species Adventure Club dinners in both New York and Boston. Like twenty of the thirty largest cities in the world, both are situated on and around estuaries, hence Estuary, the dinner. Despite the violent manipulations of urbanization, estuaries remain the most highly productive ecosystems, making the Big Apple and Beantown home to 20 million humans and tens of millions of other non-human organisms, including birds, terrestrial and aquatic creatures, and diverse vegetation. With the giant mix-master of tidal dynamics, the cosmopolitan cross-species interactions and ecological co-dependencies, we have on our hands on the lever–or in this case our mouths– to improve environmental health, right here, where so many of us all are.
Starting with a cocktail followed by five courses with paired potables, each of the preparation processes in the kitchen has a corollary process in our estuary ecosystem.
And the recipe for estuaries: combine saline, brackish and fresh riverine waters with rich terrestrial runoff, and organic matter; layer as if centrifuged, to create distinct zones that support specialized vegetation, which in turn attract terns and many more diverse organisms. The Saffron Skipper, a bright butterfly only needs the Smooth Cordgrass (Spartina Altinerflora) for its full and happy life, and we (humans) need it too, to dominate and re-engineer our shorelines much more cost effectively than the Army Corps of Engineers, and feed waterfowl, juvenile crustaceans and fishes we like. In fact 75% of all the fish we eat are plucked from estuaries. Boston managed to clean up theirTwo major flyways over Boston and New York bring major air-traffic of the feathered variety, and the seed rain they provide; fold in the plants and animals that hitch rides on ships, cross borders on the winds of consumer desire, and sprinkle with gently horticultural products that “remind-of-home” to produce a delicious cornucopia with which to experiment – and experiment we are. The comparison between the murky waters of these complex urban estuaries is telling.
In the world of food systems innovation, estuaries are ground zero, not withstanding those huge tidal forces to provide tremendous power and transportation possibilities; as well as the delicate tear-flavor of seabeans, and the inspiration for so many of the foams, emulsions and intense flavors Mihir has developed with his new centrifuge. Through the course of a gastronomical adventure in the here-and-now we will figure how dense human populations in these ecosystems can be, might be, and sometimes are a force of good. Join us!
While I have your attention, an update on the farming adventures with the Farmacy foray: In the last dinner we enjoyed our first crop–black pansies–and since then we’ve installed a whole delicious facade farm at Postmasters Gallery. Hundreds of people stood below, mouths agape as if awaiting the Tayberries and edible flowers bursting forth. Our day-lillies and nasturtiums, ready for this coming dinner have grown vigorously if vertically and have proven extremely popular with your friendly neighborhood pollinators in this humid summer. However the Dept of Buildings issued a violation (violating what exactly?) claiming that it hangs over the public sidewalk (it doesn’t — ‘cept a couple of flowers, maybe momentarily, a rappelling farmhand) — and hence our court date and the removal are imminent.
Yet our campaign to reinstall and extend this distributed urban farm also begins, and we’ve made a new improved edition of AgBags available. Now is a very good time to try your hand, and your windowsill or railing, at urban farming … contact me directly if you are game.
Please consider yourself invited to taste, explore and help produce a bio-diverse future
Cross(x)Species Adventure Club
WEDNESDAY JULY 27, 2011
7PM Five paired courses to explore ESTUARY foods and food systems designed to improve environmental health.
LOCATION Boston, Massachusetts — location to be provided to confirmed guests
FRIDAY JULY 29, 2011
7PM Five paired courses to map – with our tongues – the territory and edible opportunites of urban estuaries
LOCATION New York, New York – location to be provided to confirmed guests
EXPLORE emerging food systems that augment biodiversity and improve environmental health
INVEST in a biodiverse future
RSVP Seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis + are only confirmed upon payment completion.
For Boston dinner reservations and payment please make check payable to: The Arts Company Inc. and send to Marie Cieri @ Artists in Context 43 Linnaean St. Suite 25, Cambridge, MA 02138. RSVP deadline is Friday July 22, 2011.
BUY TICKETS FOR NEW YORK
DRESS CODE Adventurous