Earlwood Farm’s Christmas Message

Earlwood Farm is a sharehouse with a garden, but we also produced a series of events off-site this year at Verge Gallery. Our series explored some of the more obscure concepts behind our dabblings in domestic urban agriculture, from fossil fuels to future fantasies to Christmas. The reason we took flight from Garden to Gallery is because farming is about more than just food. Rather than saying merry Christmas with an ethical turkey, Earlwood Farm’s Christmas Message was delivered this year by 17 local artists at an all-singing all-dancing Variety Hour. Why art?

Proponents of the new small-scale organic food movement argue that changing the way we grow, share, process and consume food in wealthy countries has the potential to change the world and respond in a meaningful and material way to the environmental crisis. We agree. But while we are in the fun (if labour intensive) process of cultivating that change, there is a set of related practices that need rethinking at the same time. So, here’s a question: at what time of year do we sit down to the biggest feast of them all? From the Christmas Turkey to the King Prawns to Vegan and Vegetarian variations on those themes, the middle-class Australian Christmas involves lots of food. For the privileged, Christmas is synonymous with feeling disgustingly full after lunch and having a nap in the afternoon before round two begins at dinner time.

Christmas Climate Change Variety Hour is an event that explores the conceptual and material sustainability of Christmas and the many links between Christmas and Environmental crisis. This event is less about food itself (although please do bring a picnic!) and more about a group of local artists responding to the question: “What happens to all our christmassy fantasies when Santa’s workshop melts into the arctic ocean?” Photos coming soon.

Photograph: Scott Sandwich