As part of FarmCity.US, Derek Denckla curates a series of over twenty unique food-themed events entitled, Chautauqua, hosted by 61 Local Public House in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, a new establishment dedicated to locally crafted food. For gallery of images, please visit http://farmcity.tumblr.com/ and then contact derek [at] denckla [dot] com for specific files.
Chautauqua aims to create community through food (and vice versa), assembling a series of innovative and diverse events and exhibitions harking back to historic cultural gatherings started in NY and held in rural farm communities all over America.
“The events have been planned with local artists and artisans,” commented Denckla, “Each event centers around civic engagement and group activities collapsing the distinction between maker and consumer.” Seven different presenters host 21 innovative food events throughout Chautauqua, including: “Sing for Your Supper” by Communal Table; “Starving the South” by Culinary Historians of NY; artfully-enhanced tastings with Community Cooking Club; “Process Dinner” by performance artist Chloe Bass; Sustainability Speakers Series by Green Edge NYC ; Tracing Trash, a multi-media installation and community dialogue led by an interdisciplinary art collective; and a monthly Farm City Book Club. Dates and details of all events are listed below.
Background History: In the 19th Century, “Chautauqua Assemblies” provided education and culture to remote American farm communities. Chautauqua Assemblies provided entertainment and culture: musicians, entertainers, and preachers with Lectures being the main draw.
Farm City’s Chautauqua revives this tradition for city dwellers — building connections around food via taste, talk, display & ritual. According to Denckla: “The popularity of the Chautauqua movement arose from the social and geographic isolation of American farming communities yearning for education and culture. Our urban Chautauqua re-interprets this populist rural tradition by bringing it into the City — highlighting rising cultural consciousness about food.”
Interesting Note: The first Chautauqua was organized in 1874 by Methodist minister John Heyl Vincent and NYC businessman Lewis Miller at a campsite on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in New York State. It seems fitting to hold a revival of Chautauqua in New York City.