Foraged Feast is a series of performative meals started by Rachel Alexandrou in 2017. The upcoming feast series will pop up in locations in Maine, be offered to the local community for free, and feature visual art inspired by local food plants. In 2020, Alexandrou is looking to expand access and innovate the presentation of the event as an interactive art installation with Kindling Fund support.
The goals and philosophies of the foraged feast are to promote land stewardship, teach plant identification, facilitate collaboration between artists, and generate a dialogue concerning personal and regional food culture. The series aims to encourage a stronger relationship between Mainers and their local flora through food and visual art.
A team of three artists will be chosen through an open call process. Artists will be judged by a jury of professional artists on their work samples, their interest in the concepts promoted by the foraged feast and how their art practice will enhance or innovate the feast. Once the group is formed, they will meet for foraging workshops twice monthly around Midcoast Maine’s riverbanks, fields, and forests. Food harvested will be processed together and stored for the feasts.
Artists will be asked to document or create artwork about the plants, process, or experience. The visual art will be intended to complement the feast. In the past, the artwork has served as a way for eaters to slow down and contemplate the foraged component of each dish. The group will plan how and where the dinner will be presented to the public using the template of past foraged feasts as a jumping-off point. Pop-ups may take place in a grange hall, barn, gazebo, or town landing. The dates of the feasts will be planned to coincide with other free, public art events such as a city artwalk. The public will be welcomed to the Foraged Feast and invited view and taste the food. Participating artists will be able inform the audience about the food plants in each dish.
Foraging and processing workshops will be held and taught by Rachel Alexandrou. Each session will include how to identify food plants, harvesting techniques, sustainable gathering practices, and processing techniques.
Press about Rachel's past foraging work: At stillness(18), the world around us is what's for dinner in the Portland Press Herald