Eating spot: Nowy Port (Jadłodajnia Nowoporcka)

Jadłodajnia Nowoporcka was a  three-day project undertaken at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Łaźnia) in the Nowy Port district of Gdansk which in which the artists collaborated with local residents to see the neighborhood from a new perspective by learning about, searching for,  cooking with, and eating wild edible plants growing in the area.

About the project

The project started with research about the historical use of the land in the district. Next, a survey of the edible plant life was taken, and a map was made that guided the planned collaborative activities. 

It was discovered, for example, that in the 1950s many mulberry trees were planted — some say as a result of a failed scheme by the socialist government to start a silk production industry. Many of the people who lived there, now quite old, remember planting those trees. We learned that beer used to be brewed in the district, and it was also evident that the mild sea climate was madly conducive to certain other fruit trees such as plum, sea buckthorn, sumac, and blackberry. As a result we decided to use the fruit and throw a cocktail party in the local park.

We collected fruit from neighborhood trees and bushes and brought them to the park. Together with local people we mixed and mashed the fruits into various beverages such as infusions, syrups, teas, compotes, and smoothies. People also brought and shared their own homemade concoctions.

Based on the survey, we also prepared a menu and then collaborated with people — many of them children — to make our own gourmet city-park-to-table restaurant. With one group, Jodie “shopped” for ingredients in nearby park and garden allotments, taking people on walks to collect from the natural market of the district’s wild offerings.  Agata guided the other group on on using the ingredients to prepare a feast.

The menu:
Salad with wild greens, nuts, and herb dressing
Five-weed gumbo with mallow peas
Vegetable pancakes with lambsquarters sauce
Cooked dandelion and ground elder leaves
Blackberry gelatin 

Artists: Jodie Baltazar, Agata Biełska
Where: Gdansk, Poland
When: August, 2013