Food prices are rising everywhere and, at the same time, at least a third of all food generated is wasted across the world. In the Netherlands, the Dutch Nutrition Centre (Voedinggscentrum) estimated that Dutch households wasted about 34.3kl of food per person in 2019, about 10% of all the food they bought that year. There has been an increasing number of apps and initiatives aiming to reduce the food waste problem. This exhibition Food waste transformers: Infrastructures of solidarity in The Hague & Leiden which can be seen from June 7 – 15, 2022 in the Atrium of the City Hall, makes some of these initiatives in The Hague and Leiden visible, by telling the stories behind the infrastructures that enable them to transform wasted food into edible food: the food transformers.

Conducted by an interdisciplinary team of scholars and students from Leiden University (LUC & LIAS), this project is an attempt to do research in a non-extractive way. This means, to do research that resist the tendency to appropriate and use the life experiences of peoples that are often othered (as minorities, victims or marginal groups). Rather, the exhibition highlights the role of infrastructures, the things, used by three initiatives ―Conscious Kitchen, Vers & Vrij, and Green Kitchen― to help with transforming wasted food into edible food. The stories are told by a fridge, a bakfiets, a coffee-cart and a cocktail table. Through them, we learn about how wasted food collected from the Haagse Markt and the Leiden Market become edible food to be enjoyed by individuals and communities in both cities. These infrastructures are food transformers underpinning some of the urban expressions of solidarity supporting these cities. Let yourself be surprised by what these appliances and objects can tell us about how to care for one another through the transformation of food waste. Our hope is for these food transformers to open up our imagination and conversations about how to deal with food waste in more caring ways, together. Welcome to the food transformers stories of solidarity in The Hague and Leiden!

The research project behind this exhibition has been funded by a seed grant programme of the Global Transformations and Global Governance (GTGC) initiative of Leiden University.

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