About This Blog

This is the text from my first two posts, telling you about my project and motivation. If you want to get the whole story start from the beginning.


Introduction

I'm starting a small farm of "selfwatering" Sub Irigatet Planters ( SIPs ) in Berlin, Germany this Year. This blog will act as a diary, to map and share the progress, experiences and results of this project. I will grow a wide range of rare / old vegetable species & varieties. I will also try different designs of homemade SIPs and test different custom soil mixtures. My goal is to find cheap, simple, effective and easily replicable means of urban gardening in Berlin City. Ultimately I want to make this system as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible, by using largely recycled materials and soil mixtures that are based on as local and renewable resources as possible.

Why am I doing this ?

In 2006 I was strolling through a local market in Neuk├Âlln, Berlin, when I found among the vegetables of one of the stands: a five-headed eggplant. Stunned by the sight i kept looking for more anomalies and found one or more at almost every stand of the market, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, lemons, all with very unusual features and shapes. I took my finds home and started photographing them. That day I got hooked on collecting vegetable and fruit mutations and the Idea for the Mutato-Archive was born.
The Mutato-Archive is a collection of non-standard fruits, roots and vegetables, displaying a dazzling variety of forms, colours and textures, that only reveal themselves when lawfully enforced standards cease to exist. The complete absence of botanical anomalies in our supermarkets has caused us to regard the consistency of produce presented there as natural. Produce has become a highly designed, monotonous product. We have forgotten, and in many cases never experienced, the way fruits, roots, and vegetables can actually look (and taste). The Mutato-Project serves to document, preserve and promote these last remainders of agricultural diversity.
Since 2006 I am collecting, documenting and eating
Mutatoes. Over the years, through research on the topic, I learned more and more about the logic and workings our food system. At a certain point i started to realize that it is not only the natural occurrence of morphological irregularities in the growth of single plant varieties that is being suppressed and filtered out by our modern food system. In fact, only a tiny fraction of high yielding, good looking varieties are being grown and distributed today, even though there are literally thousands of varieties of any domesticated fruit or vegetable. Since the green revolution agriculture has experienced a mass extinction. A vast majority of plant varieties that humans have bred over the past 10 000 years has vanished within the last 50 years. The detachment of the people from the land, from the processes of food production has allowed this extinction to happen behind the scenes, without any public awareness. The ever increasing amount of processed foods and food imports also contributed to the illusion that the diversity of our food supply was increasing not declining.

I started a farm to be able to experience what it takes to grow food, to botanically, culinary and visually experience part of the remaining fraction of agricultural diversity, to expand the visual repertoire of the Mutato-Archive and to potentially and eventually help raise awareness of the forgotten, breathtaking diversity of domesticated nature.