OPENwater: Amazing Food and Water Event in SF Bay Area
Three years ago in the wake of a Slow Food event in San Francisco OPENrestaurant was born -- it's the brainchild and creative spirit of three staff members of Berkeley's famed Chez Panisse restaurant -- Stacie Pierce, Jerome Waag and Sam White. The trio "sought to move their environment to an art space as a way to experiment with the language of their daily activities. This displacement turns the restaurant, its codes and architecture, into a medium for artistic expression which is made available to cooks, farmers, artists and activists as a way to explore issues around food and society."
What this means is that they put on really amazing events that bring art and food together; their last one was at SF MOMA and there was a pig involved. Enough said.
Up next for them is OPENwater, a weekend-long event, this weekend (November 13 and 14), to be held at St. George Spirits, a large distillery on the Alameda Naval base and the theme is my favorite subject: water. "I started being interested in water reading Cadillac Desert and have become really interested in the whole water system in California -- I find it absolutely fascinating," said Jerome Waag. "It's a huge plumbing system that has transformed the whole landscape of California, especially the Central Valley."
The event will look at the California water system and hydrology and how that intersects with the way we produce food here -- from farming to fishing.
"In talking to the fishermen here you learn that the salmon is the big story, there has not been commercial fishing for the last 4 years," said Waag. "So we are going to have a salmon dinner, without the salmon, and talk about this story and our water -- where does it flow, how does it change the delta, how does it relate to agriculture. Salmon lives in the ocean most of his life but then ends up same sharing the same landscape, the same territory of agriculture. The fish go back and up these creeks and these creeks map out the central valley agriculture territory. It is really interesting; they compete for the same resource -- water.
The two day event is a mix of meals (dinner on Saturday and lunch and dinner on Sunday) where the food is prepared and cooked publicly and throughout the day there are visual, performance, audio and video art; panel conversations; informal talks; and places to sit and digest information. You can find more information here and the whole schedule of events here -- most of it is free, except for the meals. I'll be there and you can be the first to preview AlterNet's newest book, the beautiful Water Matters. Hope to see you there.