Labor of a Landscape

image08We’ve become accustomed to talking about Shrimp Boat Projects within a diverse range of disciplines and discourses, everything from art and architecture to ecology and economics. This has as much to do with the projects’s original design as the nature of the bay shrimping profession itself and the specific way it is situated within the Houston region.

But as we work on our boat and continue to ready it for harvesting shrimp, increasingly (and naturally) we’re drawn to simply talking about our work within the discourse of locally-sourced food and sustainable food practices. This is partly what led us to the recent Foodways Texas Symposium, and this is what led me recently to the book Remaking the North American Food System: Strategies for Sustainability– the book’s introduction opens with the following quote which speaks directly to the core values that inspire our project:

“Western philosophical and educational tradition has long distinguished ‘knowing’ activities, such as science and art, from other ‘doing’ activities involving practical, manual labor. The former, presumed to deal with fixed, eternal truths, have always been more valued than the latter, which are seen as transient and repetitive activities, subject to flux, growth, and decay. Treating foodmaking– the growing, harvesting, preparing, and eating of foods– as thoughtful practice can reconcile this problematic, binary formulation.”

–  C. Clare Hinrichs from the the introductory essay “Practice and Place in Remaking the Food System”