April 22, 2016
St. Louis Place / St. Louis, Missouri
With Tori Abernathy, Sheila Rendon and Gustavo Rendon
St. Louisans were invited to come eat salads together in St. Louis Place on Earth Day, Friday April 22. People will gather starting at 5;30 PM at the corner of 23rd and Mullanphy streets within the proposed site of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA). While federal officials look down from above, this event offered a ground-eye view of the hearts and faces of the neighborhood as it is lived today. The abstract and rare spectacle of a new NGA campus met the humble and raw task of making food on an open urban lot.
The picnic-style event included some discussion of the history of settlement and land rights leading to today’s moment, storytelling and an “open mic” for residents and concerned citizens to speak up. The salad buffet included an exhibit on St. Louis Place and city urban renewal history, which participants digested alongside delicious vegetables. A dash of dreaming, a helping of justice, a cut of togetherness, some pungent history, a pinch of art – salad provided a metaphor for collective visions of a shared future that meets everyone’s needs.
Participants were encouraged to bring salads and other foods to share. The event took inspiration from Allison Knowles’ “make a salad” project from 1962.