This Friday, May 29, at the First Street Garden (on the corner of East Houston Street and Second Avenue), you can attend a roundtable dialogue about food waste over a breakfast made of still-good-to-eat foods that have been salvaged from cafés in the neighborhood. The conference, held from 8:45 to 10:00 a.m., will take place in a structure made entirely of waste materials.
Sound crazy? Perhaps, but it is the product of art activism — which might not make it seem any less crazy, but the point is that the event is grounded in social and environmental good. The talk is part of a bi-annual festival called IDEAS CITY, which was founded by the New Museum and explores our roles as urban and global citizens. Each event tackles the subjects of art, civic life, politics, the environment, technology, or architecture — or some interdisciplinary combination of these topics. The festival as a whole is a feast for the mind, but this particular event, called “Wasted Food x Wasted Space,” takes this experience to a whole new level.
Let’s talk a little more about this garbage pavilion. It is the brainchild of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich), and it aims to reinterpret trash as a valuable asset. We spend so much time and money trying to make garbage invisible, and the ETH Zurich Future Garden and Pavilion challenges us to reconsider our actions. Considering the mind-blowing facts about food waste in America — for instance, we discard 50 million tons of food each year (a number that has doubled since 1975) — it’s definitely worth some thought. Local organizations miLES and PareUp join ETH Zurich in conversation.
The event is free to attend, but you have to RSVP.