Formed during the Utopia 2016 season at Somerset House Edible Utopia Ltd. is a creative co-op comprised of artists Clare Patey, Jane Levi, Tim Mitchell, Sophie Mason. In 2018, we have been joined by mycologist Darren Springer and community artist and multi-instrumentalist composer Alex Etchart.
Edible Utopia’s vision is to embed productive and vibrant food-growing interventions in the city, beginning with a 3-year project at the heart of Somerset House. Working with diverse participants on a weekly workshop programme Edible Utopia exists to transform spaces in unexpected sites (both hidden and visible) into beautiful, bio-diverse, food growing areas that produce fresh, organically grown edible produce - from mushrooms, rhubarb and chicory varieties (both forced and daylight grown) to herbs, salads and vegetables – for use in local businesses and for sale. Through the creative work of growing, cooking and eating we develop skills, develop community and enrich the urban environment.
Edible Utopia brings together people from a range of institutions from the arts, education, and the charities sector, forging new links, with knowledge, experience and laughter shared between previously unconnected people. We propagate this through our growing sites that become spaces for creativity, education, wellbeing and conversation as much as horticulture. A volunteer programme and an apprentice scheme are set up as key parts of the system, along with our co-operative social enterprise, and these elements are crucial components that will expand as Edible Utopia’s presence on different sites expands. The Edible Utopia team works with others– mycologist, growers, designers, artists, participants, volunteers, stakeholders and the site’s own team to develop and manage its projects.
Edible Utopia is designed for long-term impact, leaving a lasting legacy on the sites it works with, and establishing Somerset House and other partners as leaders and innovators in urban food growing.
Who We Are
Clare Patey – Artist, curator and Director of the Empathy Museum. Commissions include: LIFT, Channel 4 (winner of RTS award), Southbank Centre and The National Theatre. She was the creator of the critically acclaimed Museum Of, and curated Feast on the Bridge for the Thames Festival.
Tim Mitchell – Exhibited and published visual artist, film maker and photographer, educator and organic food grower. Teaching City & Guilds Organic Horticulture. Awarded Cambridge Sustainability Residency at Anglia Ruskin University.
Jane Levi PhD – Writer, researcher, visiting research fellow in history at King’s College London. Research focus on utopianism and food; recent work includes the co-authored Food Politics & Society (UC Press, 2018), and an exhibition for the Foundling Museum (Feeding the 400).
Sophie Mason – Artist, educator and community food grower. Exploring the relationships between plants and people through art; working in and building various food gardens across the UK, France and Spain; teaching workshops in growing and art including within the therapeutic context.