Over the course of 2018 a group of communities with an interest in transforming how we buy, use and generate energy came together to hold a series of ‘utopian feasts’. These communal meals acted as a medium in which ideas of a better future, and how it might be achieved, can be explored and tested, shared and supported, initiated and evolved.
Of course, any meal will have multiple direct relationships with energy use and generation: it will underpin everything from the cooking of the meal, to the food and drink consumed, to the surrounding infrastructure. But a communal meal also embodies in a particularly direct and powerful way how any one ‘sustainability’ issue cannot, ultimately, be kept separate from any other, or from the more intangible and unpredictable elements that otherwise sustain our lives.
Prior to the first ‘Feast’, participants from all the communities took part in two afternoons of workshops which looked at the idea of ‘imagining the future’ through four different disciplinary lenses:
- arts and culture (David Sergeant)
- geography (Tim Daley)
- dietetics and public health (Clare Pettinger)
- architecture (Bob Brown).
- The first feast took place before a gorgeous sunset and beneath an already-visible moon.
- The second feast took place in the historic Plymouth Athenaeum, hosted by Plymouth Energy Community to celebrate their 'PEC pals' project.
- The third feast took place at a renewable energy farm home in the Teign Valley near Newton Abbot, Devon, hosted by Teign Energy Communities.
- The fourth feast took place in Ivybridge Methodist Church, hosted by South Dartmoor Community Energy.
The Feast Table
Artist-maker Barnaby Stone has made a table which will be used at all the feasts in South Devon. The table was sourced from sustainable materials and made in Barnaby’s workshop just south of Haytor on Dartmoor. Drilled in a cloud-like disc around the table’s hub are several hundred small holes into which attendees at each Feast for the Future will place specially crafted wooden pegs, in an arrangement of their choosing, with a different wood being used for each event. A shifting collective of possible constellations will thereby emerge as the table makes its way through the different meals: traces of conversations, presences and connections.
Find out more about the Feast Table, its making and its maker