Installation: Minus Pollinators at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

In early 2022, artist Freddie Yauner and I came together for a meeting of minds, discussing our shared interests in food and farming and its many beautiful and ugly faces. Freddie casually shared the seeds of an idea, whereby he had taken a classic café drinks menu and crossed out all of the items that require insect pollinators to exist. The idea lingered in my mind with the shocking truth that about 90% of drinks were unavailable, an unimaginable scenario.

Shortly after, we were both independently approached by Karishma Rafferty, curator of the Food Forever summer festival at Kew Gardens, to propose ideas for the festival’s programme which is focussed on the subject of food security. Freddie and I decided to collaborate and further develop the café menu idea, whereby we would position a dystopian future in the form of a drinks kiosk where the staples such as coffee, teas, juices, chocolate etc are no longer available. All of our facts were verified by Prof. Jeff Ollerton, ecological scientist and author and Prof. Phil Stevenson, Head of Biological Chemistry at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The mobile drinks kiosk acts as an exhibition display, with artworks painted in pollen by Freddie and a take-away pamphlet written by me, detailing the importance of insect pollinators for our collective future on this planet.

For the full experience, visit the Food Forever Corner on the weekends of 21&22 May, 11&12 June and 18&19 June 2022.

Food Forever website