• Dates for my 2020 Meetups and Retreats
  • Report on our Urban-Rural exhibition in China
  • Next steps for the Social Food Atlas
  • Recent publications
  • Thirty-two case-study collections

Five recommended books

For a second year, I’m hosting week-long Meetups|Project Retreats| Residencies at our home in France. If you are a designer, project curator, (post-)grad student, researcher, or writer – and are working on a thesis, project, or book – check out the programme here.

If you need a personal phase-shift right now, we’re also hosting a small number of winter residences.

In November, I curated an exhibition in China called Urban-Rural. Framed by our transition from the oil age to a soil age, its focus was the emergence of a new urban-rural economy. Highlights on these 82 slides include: ten ways to restore soil; farmers live streaming to the city; Shanghai’s BIOfarm; a repair cafe; bioregional fiber economies; rural village hosts, Chinese-Italian fermentation.

Among my ten takeaways from the project: the soil age is more about about relationships, than pre-cooked solutions. Urban and Rural are one place, not two. Analogue and digital are also one place, not two. Making things in a soil age, and leaving the land healthier, are also a single process.

The exhibition concludes with an an Urban-Rural To-Do List (slide 80). These actions are among the next steps in a larger project called Design Harvests 2.0 that will soon appear on the ‘learning landscape’ of Zhangyan. More on that in the new year, but this book (176 pages, pdf to download) tells the story so far. Its by Professor Lou Yongqi, Francesca Valsecchi, and Clarisa Diaz.

Can small changes ever lead to system transformation – and if so, how? Here is my talk (25m) in Shanghai

The Social Food Atlas continues to grow. Launched in Italy, in April, entries now range from Austria to Ukraine. They include municipal gardens and urban farms; community meals; social harvest festivals; farmer-to-farmer meet-ups; food waste platforms; community kitchens; community baking and brewing sites; care farms; school gardens; street food festivals; cooperative grain growing; farm hacks; regional gatherings; farm tours; and many more. The Atlas is published together with Casa Netural and #Matera2019,

Fifteen social food curators met in Matera for the launch of the Social Food Forum. A two minute video is here. We discussed the different kinds of value created by social food projects. In particular, they create ‘public goods’ in the form of social cohesion, public health, territorial development, food sovereignty, farmer livelihoods, learning, innovation, and biodiversity. We are discussing how to do more of this work, with more partners, and in more places, in the near future. The Forum is a legacy of #Matera2019.


Bioregioning: Pathways to Urban-Rural Reconnection
My 6,000 word paper, which was published in China’s design and innovaton journal She Ji, is now available as a pdf.