food, sustainability and art projects in Europe

Publication – Nathalie Blanc: Art, Farming and Food for the Future

Art, Farming and Food for the Future. Transforming Agriculture

Nathalie Blanc, research director at the LADYSS-CNRS, develops a research-creation activity through the production of nature mixing artistic and scientific. Her concerns in terms of ecological poetics lead to the implementation of art-science devices.

In collaboration with the Table and the Territory since 2019, Nathalie Blanc has conducted studies on food artistic practices with network partners (Campo Adentro, Locus Athens, ArtMill, Zone Sensitive, PAV), through interviews and research on the places. As part of the T&T program, Nathalie Blanc publishes a new book co-written with Barbara L. Benish, director of ArtMill and researcher at the University of Santa Cross in California.

“Art, Farming and Food for the Future”, nourished by these three years of research, explores the impact of artistic experiments in inspiring people to turn away from current food consumerism and take an active role in preserving, sustaining and protecting the environment.

As artists are expanding their practice into social justice and community concerns, erasing traditional forms of expression and integrating others, the culture around food and its production has been added to a new vocabulary of experiential art. The authors measure the impact of such experiments on local food consumption and production, focusing on education and youth, both in the surrounding community and culture at large. They suggest how these projects can be upscaled to further encourage sustainable solutions for our environment and communities. The book explores the reflections and motivations of case study practitioners in urban and rural areas and, through interviews, engages with artists who are pioneering a new trend to create hubs of activity away from traditional art spaces in cities to follow a non-hierarchal practice that is de-centralized and communally based.

This book will be of great interest to academic readers concerned with issues related to environmental aesthetics, eco-design, eco-criticism, culture, heritage, memory, identity, and those interested in the current debates on the place of aesthetics and culture in sustainability.

Order the book from the 5th of September via Routledge.



Nathalie Blanc: She is Director of Research at the Scientific Research National Center (CNRS) and Director of the Centre des Politiques de la Terre. She was director of the UMR CNRS LADYSS (2014-2019) and is based at the University of Paris. Pioneer of ecocriticism in France, she has published and coordinated research programs on areas such as nature in the city, environmental aesthetics and environmental mobilizations. Founding member of the French portal of the Humanities Environment, she was also, from 2011 to 2015, the French delegate of the European research network COST “Investigating cultural sustainability” and is then delegate of the European COST program on new materialisms “How Matter Matters” (2016-2019). Among her recent research projects are CAPADAPT Supporting adaptation to climate change through citizen capacity building (ADEME-GICC 2017-2020) and CIVIC ACT on the intersections between socio-environmental inequalities and collective mobilization at the scale of Greater Paris (University of Paris-Sciences Po). She has published several books, such as: Les animaux et la ville, O. Jacob, 2000; Vers une esthétique environnementale, Quae, 2008; Ecoplasties. Art et environnement, Manuella, 2010, more recently Form, art, and environment: engaging in sustainability, published by Routledge in 2016. Nathalie Blanc leads and coordinates a project of LAB ArtSciences Le Laboratoire de la Culture Durable devoted successively to the urban soils of the Anthropocene (SOLS FICTIONS) and to sustainable food (The Table and The Territory) which gives rise to experiments in writing and exhibition.

Barbara L. Benish: She is an artist, curator, writer, and farmer.  She studied Ethnography & Art  (University of,  Hawai’i), Painting (MFA, Claremont Graduate University), and at the Royal Academy of Art in Stockholm. She moved to Prague in 1993 as a Fulbright scholar and stayed. Her work has been shown at numerous institutions in Europe and the U.S., including P.S.1 Museum, the Getty Museum, the Stadtgeschichtliche Museen in Nurnberg, Germany, and the National Gallery in Prague, including over 200 exhibitions since 1979. Benish is Founding Director of ArtMill in rural Bohemia, which is an expansion of her vision of art as social practice working with students, artists, and locals.  She has been an Advisor to the United Nations Environmental Program, a Fellow at the Social Practice Arts Research Center, (UCSC). Benish teaches in Prague and WestBohemian University in Plzen. She continues to create installations, interventions, and paintings on environmental and social issues integral to our time.