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Resilient local food systems in the Tamar Valley

Local food systems play a key role in the creation of livelihood strategies throughout the Tamar Valley. This project seeked to disseminate knowledge of how local food systems function. In particular, we seeked to raise awareness of relevant linkages between soil health, water and food production. The project presented, in an innovative way, the role that sustainable local food systems play in the creation of resilient livelihoods and communities. Rosie Fierek’s artwork is inspired by the work that Tamar Grow Local undertakes in the area - stimulating and incentivising local food production and consumption - and research by ESI researchers Gloria Salmoral and Xiaoyu Yan on water-energy-food nexus in the EPSRC funded WEFWEBs project.

Rosie Fierek says, "The whole artwork has been designed to be seen in the round, is built of ceramics and wood, and contains figurative, abstract and surreal elements. It serves as a visual metaphor for how Tamar Grow Local supports the growth and consumption of local food, and hence healthy and sustainable links with the natural environment. There is a kind of cycle represented by a ‘giant pea pod and stem’ which, tapping into water, grows over a large piece of wood (actually dredged from the Tamar). The 'pea' symbol, of course, implies that these seeds can be re-sown to propagate further activity and perpetuate the cycle. Illustrations in the ceramic pea structure show many aspects of local growing culture".

Dr. Gloria Salmoral who commissioned the project on behalf of the ESI said: “We would like to show with this project the inextricably links that exist on water, soil and land systems and how they depend on each other, something that we are already researching in the EPSRC WEFWEBs project. We hope to visualize, in an attractive and abstract way, linkages between those systems and their relevance for resilient local food systems”.

Rachael Forster from Tamar Grow Local said: ‘It’s a real privilege to have the opportunity to work with Rosie and the University of Exeter to present our work in an innovative and creative way. We can’t wait to see the result and hope it will be an inspiration for other communities.’

The final artwork was on display in the ESI Creative Space in the University of Exeter’s Penryn campus between 25th September and 26th October.