For one day only The Bureau of Exchange was transformed into a pop-up cafe by artists Louiza Hamidi and Libby Russell. The Southampton based artists were invited by Lydia Heath to provide a space for conversation, and the opportunity for people to witness the quality and quantity of food that gets thrown out every day.
At the Food Waste Cafe on Wed 4 June this surplus food was transformed into delicious hot meals and served at colourfully decorated round tables. Other food items such as fruit, cake and pastries were collected by visitors from the free food table.
The Bureau of Exchange had at least 60 visitors over the course of the day, some of whom ate at the cafe, and others who participated in The Freed Market Swap Shop. CAS artists from The Bureau of exchange were delighted by the energy and enthusiasm each visitor brought to the shop as it became an open space where anyone could come to meet, share, eat and talk.
Louiza Hamidi from The Food Waste cafe says: “The café represents an alternative catering establishment that survives primarily on the surplus generated by consumerism. At Food Waste Café this surplus is redefined and given its original purpose once more. This simultaneously reduces the amount that reaches landfill and creates a space where these issues can be discussed.
Food Waste Café’s ethics situate themselves within the anti-consumerist and ecological framework associated with Freeganism. This practice adopts alternative lifestyle choices to minimize participation in conventional economy by utilizing post-consumer goods. Opposing materialism and the extreme amount of waste it produces, Food Waste Café contributes to this activist movement and explores the social responses that surround it.
Food Waste Café frames the relational potential of an institutional space, by temporarily constructing a social installation which depends on the participation of others. The café’s primary interest is to instigate dialogue.”