Seed Exchange Festival: Roskilde, Denmark

In the first ever seed exchange hosted by Farm of Ideas, a lush Danish countryside farm transformed into an oasis for an international fleet of chefs and lovers of food.

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This gastro event centered around a seed swap, an activity that farmers and gardeners participate in to preserve biodiversity. All plants have a surprising amount of genetic diversity. Thus, growing food and plants with diverse genetic codes is important for protection against blight, climate change, and other unpredictable conditions. Diverse seeds also produce foods with different smells, textures, and tastes, which everyone can appreciate.

Christian Puglisi, the chef and mastermind of beloved Copenhagen eateries such as Relæ, Manfreds, Mirabelle, and Bæst, used this festival to bring people and seeds together. Showcasing the organic farm that produces food (including fresh dairy products) for his restaurants, Puglisi used this exchange to inspire other top chefs and food producers to adopt sustainable farming practices.

Throughout the weekend, free workshops took place in the Workshop Tent. I partnered with the research team from the Nordic Food Lab to document their demo on plum diversity.

In the plum tasting workshop, attendees used ALL of their senses to do projective mapping on their experience tasting six different plum varietals. After tasting each of the six plum varietals twice, each attendee drew the number of each plum varietal on a white piece of paper; the proximity of the numbers symbolized the similarities and differences they perceived between the plums. To all of the participants' surprise, the plums varied dramatically, despite seemingly appearing quite similar when placed next to one another on the table.

Throughout the day, a pop-up hosted by Puglisi's restaurant Bæst (or Beast in English) served made to order pizzas, salads, and charcuterie on family-style long tables to bring this community together.

Bæst's is one of the popular restaurants for Italian-style pizza in Denmark. Each personal sized pizza is hand-shaped with homemade, yeasty pizza dough. Cooked in a 500 degree C wood-fired oven, the pillowy, bubbling crust surrounds a thin crusted interior, topped with seasonal, local ingredients. The daily-made, biodynamic mozzarella piled onto the pizza comes from the cows that grazed on the hillside beside us.

Perhaps sedated by the day full of succulent food, including the pit-roasted pig prepared by a visiting chef from the U.S.’s deep south, most of the crowd remained tame at the end of the prix-fixe dinner. However, a small group headed straight for the dance floor, which lit up with lights and featured live music and DJs. Celebrating an amazing day and dancing off all of the pizza, this first seed exchange festival certainly won’t be the last.