Artist and political ecologist with an interest in food sovereignty, food waste and organic agriculture. One of Cape Farewell’s Farm-Artists in residence.
Vanessa Reid was Cape Farewell’s Farm-Artist in residence 2014/2015. Taking her exciting project The Milking Parlour to the streets of Bristol to explore food and farming systems, and their wider environmental impacts, in an exhibition in Bristol’s Harbourside.
She is a political ecologist focusing on food sovereignty, food waste and organic agriculture in the South West of England, proposing the need for radical systemic change within our current food and farming system: one which is becoming increasingly unsustainable, and unhealthy, for both planet and people. Based in Bristol, she is Co-Director of This is Rubbish, a community-interest company, aiming to communicate the preventable scale of food wasted in the UK, through policy research, community and arts led public events. She co-coordinates “Counting What Matters”: a campaign to engage one major grocery company and four MPs in committing to piloting and advocating a one year food waste audit., and is part of the internal core team for Beacon Farms: a Community Benefit Society training a new generation of sustainable food producers on Bristol’s fertile Blue Finger land.
Her interest in the link between agriculture, ecocide and climate change emerged during field research for the ICCA Consortium in India, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Over these three years she witnessed the catastrophic ecological damage caused by large scale intensive agriculture – namely oil palm – and the displacement of local and indigenous communities as a result. As Managing Editor for Biodiversity – a Journal of Life on Earth: a quarterly, scientific publication from Biodiversity Conservancy International, this role keeps her updated with wider, global ecological perspectives. Having received a research scholarship from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)Vanessa researched the role indigenous art in preserving diasporic Tibetan culture and religion in Himachal Pradesh, Northern India and Nepal.
With a predominantly theoretical artistic practice to date, Cape Farewell’s 2014/2015 FarmArt Residencysaw Vanessa turning her energies to a more applied artistic practice, designing and creating an exhibition and research project on the future of milk in the UK. During the residency she worked with farmers from the Cerne valley and its surrounds in Dorset: an AONB, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, bringing their stories and experiences to the table, as well as linking the exhibition to Beacon Farms, This is Rubbish and the wider Bristol European Green Capital 2015 sustainable food and waste strand.