Edible Map of Shieldfield, Newcastle

Shieldfield Edible Map, exhibition at SAW
Shieldfield Edible Walk June 2019
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June 2019. As part of an exhibition at Shieldfield Art Works, Newcastle upon Tyne I will be exhibiting a new edible map of the neighborhood as well as running a week of walking, June 19th-23rd.

Shieldfield Art Works Exhibition Programme & Publication

21 May – 6 July | Open every Tuesday – Friday 11am-4pm | Saturdays 25 May & 22 June 1-4pm

Featuring portrait photography of local residents by renowned photographer Phyllis Christopher; a map imagining a future, greener Shieldfield by Mikey Tomkins and local residents; a 3D map which tracks the money used to fuel the rapid urban development in Shieldfield by Julia Heslop and Dwellbeing; films produced by local residents as part of North EastEnders and a Shieldfield Art Works publication, which will feature writing by academics, supporters and community members, exploring the success of our past projects, our transition period from Holy Biscuit to SAW and commitment to future action.

What does an “Edible City” look like? A city of fruit trees, vegetable plants, and agriculture? To help visualise the Food-Garden City here is an “Edible Map” of Shieldfield, which aims to ignite your curiosity about the potential for food production in the neighbourhood. A place where open spaces, vacant warehouses, and rooftops accommodate greenhouses, vegetable gardens, beehives, and small livestock. Where harvests travel less and are more visible, where food is fresh, not because it has been wrapped in plastic and chilled for thousands of miles but because you just picked it! The need for the Edible City is ever more urgent as we become a globally urban species. It is now well understood that our new mega-cities can grow part of the food we consume, rather than rely wholly on external agriculture. This usually happens when countries respond to crisis, but how can we proactively embrace urban food gardens as an everyday necessary towards a more sustainable urbanism? Ideas around urban agriculture are often rebuffed on the assumption that there is no space in cities to grow food. However, as this map demonstrates, cities have enough space for a wide variety of food production. There are empty flat roofs and deserts of grass, sites awaiting development, the upper storey of multi-storey car parks, and fallow tarmac roads no one uses. People argue that you cannot feed the city from within the city but urban agriculture does not aim at self-sufficiency. It aims at a sustainable contribution to our food supply through better land management, waste recycling, creating local employment and a greater sense of wellbeing. This Edible Map is a picture. It is a start, not a finish. It is a provocation and an invitation to take part in walking around Shieldfield and collectively imagining a very different neighbourhood. It is a guide to the invisible and imagined, the yet-to-be-built; a guide for the amateur architect, food-flâneur and everyday resident to have their city and eat it.