Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

The Milking Parlour

In 2001, 26,500 dairy farms existed in the UK; by 2011 there were 14,700. In 1950 there were no less than 196,000 dairy farms, which means that over the past 60 years, 92.5% of them have disappeared. More and more the next generation are turning away from dairy farming because they simply cannot afford to make ends meet.

In spring 2016, Nessie Reid will be exhibiting The Milking Parlour in Bristol, a performance based public exhibition exploring the values we hold towards our food and the type of relationships we possess with our food and farming system in general. In order to explore these themes, Nessie has chosen to use the medium of milk: something once hailed as a superfood – providing 34% of our RDA of protein – now undervalued, and often cheaper to buy than bottled water.

Nessie will live with two cows for 5 days in Bristol City Centre, constructing a temporary milking parlour. The intention of taking two cows out of their usual context on the farm and into an urban environment in the centre of Bristol, is to represent the disconnect between the cities we live in and the food we eat, the milk we consume and the natural processes involved in producing these everyday products.

Visitors to the exhibition will experience the cows being milked, get involved in debate, witness some of the less-glamorous processes involved in producing milk, and hear stories from dairy farmers throughout the south west of England. Within the parlour itself, Nessie will be living full time with the cows where she will milk, feed, muck out and sleep near them, being the chief caretaker. During calving and lambing season, it is common for farmers to construct temporary beds within the animal pens, in order to watch over them.

The purpose of this ‘live-in’ is to demonstrate the often arduous and challenging processes involved in producing an everyday product like milk: something we rarely think twice about as we scan the supermarket shelves. The idea was initially inspired by the Sustainable Food Trust’s 2013 True Cost Accounting conference, coupled with a moving talk at the Oxford Real Farming Conference about milk being cheaper than bottled water, where Nessie decided milk was the ideal lens through which to talk about the true (and hidden) social, economic and environmental costs behind our food and farming system.

Nessie’s research will be recorded via the Dairy Blog and Gallery. For a detailed introduction to the project, watch The Milking Parlour film below. The intention is for The Milking Parlour to be extended for 2 years to become a national tour, of which funding applications are currently underway.

The Milking Parlour is an 18-month Cape Farewell artist residency, based in Bristol. Cape Farewell is an international programme bringing together creatives, scientists and informers to stimulate a cultural narrative to communicate the urgency of our global climate challenge.

Photograph: Sarahluv

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Find out more about Community Resilience. See our COMMUNITIES page
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

 

This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.


The Chicago Honey Co-op Works with a Hive Mind

Bees are essential to food production. In response to the massive, global …

Food: Trading Away our Future? Part IV

Today, linking farmers to markets is an overarching policy for almost all …

I Trust Cows More than I Trust Chemists

How is it in this country we are so willing to look at technology and say …

These Entrepeneurs are Using Technology to Turn a Profit on Food Waste

Take a look at what some creative businesses are doing to turn trash into …

Water Scarcity, Public Protest Slow Foreign Farmland Purchases

This month, in a new report, GRAIN found that investment in foreign land …

Looking for Food in All the Wrong Places

Thus far, the government of Mozambique has dutifully reformed its seed laws …

Feeding Cities from Within

Urban agriculture is sprouting up all over the world.