Seeds at the table - Dinner intervention

Contributors: Ioana Lupașcu & Yacinth Pos

What stories are in a handful of weeds?

Seeds at the Table is a meandering conversation about cooking, recipes from home, weeds, work, knowledge exchange and personal stories about the place of departure and place of arrival of seasonal workers. The research took place between Romania and the Netherlands in villages where stories of migration reverberate in the everyday.

The project culminates in an experimental publication that brings together multiple forms of research and archiving: an informal recipe book filled with stories, ways of cooking and our personal journeys within this project. On the one side a dinner intervention by Yacinth Pos on a farm in Lelystad where the food cooked is born out of a dialogue with seasonal workers, on the other side an audio walk by Ioana Lupașcu that came into being after an unplanned visit to the village of her childhood summers in the north-east of Romania. 

Dinner intervention at vegan farm Zonnegoed, Flevoland, guided by Yacinth Pos

How can we exchange local knowledge and openly talk about the experience of working in the agricultural industry? And what brings people together and allows them to enter a conversation with ease? I had a desire to connect with seasonal workers that travel from their home countries to the Netherlands, but I was unsure what would be the best way to softly start up this dialogue.

While visiting Zonnegoed, a vegan farm in Flevoland, I learned about the harvest, production processes, the tasks of the labourers, the plants and weeds growing around the farm, and their use in other cultures. For example, a common weed in the Netherlands, the sorrel, is in Poland a popular ingredient often used in soups. As a cook, I became interested in learning what the seasonal workers prepare for dinner and if they use plants or weeds.

The research unfolded in a series of field explorations studying local edible weeds at the farm and visits to the housing facilities where the seasonal workers live. I used food as a conversation starter to exchange recipes and personal stories. These experiences shaped the menu for the dinner intervention hosted in the domestic space of farm Zonnegoed. A communal table brought together staff, seasonal workers, the project translator, us artists, as well as local weeds, flowers and crops from the fields, ingredients from the Polish shop on wheels, dishes mixing different localities and soft drinks from the chain supermarket. A spontaneous conversation emerged, about food, working hours, living conditions, adapting to foreign bureaucracy and being away from home. The night was concluded with a group photo and stacks of tupperware with leftover food for later.


Made possible by a grant from the Creative Industries Fund NL.

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