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(Archive) Dish the Dirt

Dish the Dirt is a multi-sensory tasting experience connecting the food we eat to the land it is grown in.

This project was part of DDW 2022
A multi-sensory menu connecting food and soil — © Sally Morris

Dish the Dirt offers a different way to connect people to the systemic problems of the food system and soil degradation. It is about showing food and soil side-by-side to create a visceral experience, bringing together producers, consumers, farmers and citizens for conversations around the table.

An innovative experience that connects food and soil

Living Soils are one of the most critical elements of the natural world. Yet, most people do not consider them, most do not understand their importance, and very few consider their food's relationship with soil. It's time to shift that narrative to make impactful changes for our collective future.

Dish the Dirt is an eating experience that connects people to food and the soil it is grown in through multi-sensory dining. Diners eat a 6-course tasting menu and experience different sensory elements that evoke the soil's smell, taste, sound and feel. This experience is designed to empower people with the knowledge of why our living soils are essential, how farming affects them and how the food we eat can have an enormous impact on them.

Beautifully designed ceramic plates inspired by the soil are used. Each plate has been made for a different tasting course and eating experience. The plates are hand-built or wheel-thrown and glazed in colours that evoke thoughts, feelings and textures of living soil.

Dish the Dirt offers a delightful and tangible way for people to engage with food and soil. It's for food consumers, farmers, policyholders and even those already involved in soil.

Living soils bleed like us, but we can heal them

Living Soils are the basis of life. Soil is a living part of our world; it bleeds, gets damaged and can be healed just like us. It gives us the basis of our life, yet because it is underground, most people don't consider it.

By eating better food grown in better living soils, we can have a significant impact on reversing our environmental damage and supporting the future of our natural world. As well as the environmental impact, we can change our health too. This can be achieved through understanding how our food affects the soils it is grown in and our human bodies. Soils are depleting, changing and being degraded, but we can rebuild them, and the Dish the Dirt experience shows this hopeful message for the future.

Dish the Dirt is an innovative eating experience; it tells this hopeful story for the future and links food and soil together. Not a workshop, or a lecture, Dish the Dirt uses beautiful design, tasty food and sensory elements inspired by gastrophysics to engage consumers on the topic without prejudice or judgement.

Dish the dirt is a hopeful message for our future

Unlike so much of the environmental messaging that can feel burdensome and hard to feel we can change, Dish the Dirt is designed to bring joy, hope and delight to help people engage in this complex topic and make tangible how food relates to the soil.

Most people have never considered the food grown in different soils or ways or eaten side-by-side comparisons of industrial food versus regenerative food. It is unusual for people to eat a meal touching, smelling and seeing the earth it has come from.

Dish the Dirt is a unique way of telling the story of the living soils, why they are essential and how they affect us and our food.

The theme of Dutch Design Week this year is 'Get Set', and Dish the Dirt offers just that. It is about creating a shift toward addressing the challenges we face as a society around food systems and soil degradation and the importance of coming together to make impactful change. Dish the Dirt supports, empowers and evokes the senses to think and feel something different about food and soil and act on that to create change.

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Delighting people and unpicking complexity — © Sally Morris

Ceramic plates that are inspired by Living Soils — © Lydia Stewart

Dish the Dirt - Best Soil is like Chocolate Cake — © Sally Morris

A new way of eating food and soil side-by-side