Joseph Krupczynski aims to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income communities in Western Massachusetts using a “green” service vehicle through the public art project called the Moveable Feast.
What inspired you to create the Movable Feast Project?
Loretta Yarlow, the director of the University Gallery at UMass asked me if I was interested in putting together a public art project (with community engagement) as part of their contribution to Museums10 Fall 2010 exhibition theme of “Food.” Since I have been working in the last few years with Nuestras Raices in Holyoke (on the design for an educational/restaurant structure for their farm), I thought that they would be an excellent collaborative partner for such a project since their work is “food” and “community” focused. So I started a conversation with the director of Nuestras Raices and asked what projects they were developing that I might contribute to in a public art context. In those conversations I learned that, through their work with the Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council, they had identified the development of mobile markets/kitchens as one of the outreach priorities (whose primary objective is to reach low-income neighborhoods in the region with poor access to fresh fruits and vegetables) and they were planning on purchasing a food trailer for that use. Once we knew that the food trailer would be the subject/object of this project, “Moveable Feast” was born.
Where do the fruits and vegetables come from?
All the primary ingredients of all the food served from the trailer are sourced from local farms, including farmers from Nuestras Raices, La Finca.
What do you say to people who might say “how can this be art”?
My definition of art is that it should catalyze a renewed perception of our world –and it is my hope that “Movable Feast” is a visual (as well as a culinary) catalyst to re-vision how we see our local food system. I also believe that a public art project such as this can creatively transform local conditions and build uncharacteristic forms of associations among a diverse group of community residents—establishing and elaborating a unique alternate form of sociality. This process allows for the production of “things” (conversations, meals, performances, effects) that are transformed into “artworks” within this broadened framework. The project is an artistic production that also works as a collective learning project—promoting internal reflection, horizontal exchange, and vertical collaborations and partnerships. For me, the project is inspired by the idea that art can expand conventional notions of people, place and the art-making process. It is part of a broader effort to create works through participatory processes where the work’s visual and physical characteristics grow out of a reflective engagement with the community. So the work seeks not to simply “beautify” a site, but to use art and the art-making process as a means to bridge the gaps between the aesthetic, social and everyday perceptions of art and life.
What do you hope to achieve by undertaking the Movable Feast Project?
See above… but, also: One of the social issues/conditions that this project seeks to address is the disparities in access to healthy food –which remain an important challenge today, contributing to obesity and other related health problems. Yet, there are strategies being implemented across the country to address this issue. By providing a context for discussing, highlighting and disseminating information about healthy community-based food practices in Western Massachusetts’ diverse communities, this project seeks to become part of this growing movement (in a small, humble way) that provide realizable solutions.
Is there any fruit or vegetable you are not fond of? (Disclaimer, this ArtSake writer is a vegetarian).
Kiwi! …for some reason it makes me break out.
All dates and locations for the Moveable Feast are subject to change so be sure to check for updates.
Sunday 10/3 1:30 – 3:00 PM & 4:00 – 5:30 PM
Holyoke / Toepfert Apartments, North Summer Street &
Beaudoin Village, Leary Drive
Tuesday 10/5 4:30 – 7:00 PM
Amherst / Food for Thought Books / Panel Discussion
106 North Pleasant Street
Saturday 10/9 10:00 – 2:00PM
Springfield / Mason Square Farmers Market
11 Wilbraham Road
Tuesday 10/12 3:00 – 5:00 PM
Holyoke / El Arco Iris
561 South Canal Street
Image credit: All images courtesy of Joseph Krupczynski.
Elaine J. Baskin says
Hello Joe et al: I recently learned about Chicago’s “Desert Action/Fresh Moves” mobile grocery store. Check out the website, inspiring and pragmatic solution to the problem of our urban food deserts, a variation on your own Moveable Feast theme and one that could be implemented in our fair city, HolyokeMA. I remember that, as a child in a neighborhood without access to grocery stores, we relied on truck farmers who arrived with trucks full of fresh seasonal local vegetables and fruits. Our Moms (because it was back in the day when Moms stayed home and Dads went to work in the city) would line up, shopping bags in hand, to buy their week’s worth of produce. The mobile grocery store appears to be a new incarnation of a very good old idea, Surely food for thought!