About the Project: The Our Daily Bread Project promotes healthy eating habits and engagement with the arts, engaging California residents in conversations about how to maintain our food traditions, promote sustainable eating practices and become more informed about our food sources.
This project grew out of a performance piece called Our Daily Bread that uses dance, text, and video to celebrate what we eat and illuminate the culture that underlies our eating practices. Created by Amara Tabor-Smith’s Deep Waters Dance Theater, director Ellen Sebastian Chang and visual artist Lauren Elder at CounterPULSE, Our Daily Bread delves into the folklore and stories surrounding our food traditions to examine how these traditions are impacted by industrialized agriculture, fast food culture and our global food crisis.
“I am passionate about gaining deeper understanding about why we eat what we eat and the ways that history, culture and identity are expressed in our cooking. I have also come to recognize the depth of how economic realities are expressed so dramatically through food…”
“[This project] has inspired within me personally, a life dedicated to food activism…It has sparked many conversations and personal actions among those involved in this process around food, art, family and community.” – Lead Artist, Amara Tabor-Smith
The Partners: The Our Daily Bread Project is a collaboration between local arts organization CounterPULSE, community-services organization Catholic Charities CYO, and the residents of two low-income family and housing facilities which are within one block of CounterPULSE – 10th & Mission Family Housing and the Edith Witt Senior Community.
The Activities: Local residents engage in a year-long period of learning, story gathering, artistic creation and community building to promote healthy eating habits using traditional foods, including:
- Ten monthly potlucks where residents share meals, stories, and folklore from our diverse histories from our diverse histories and engage in conversations about how to maintain our food traditions, promote sustainable eating practices and become more informed about our food sources. Workshops exploring how to eat locally and seasonally, and provide resources for urban gardening, as well as how to substitute unhealthy traditional food ingredients with healthier ones.
- Thirty weeks of after-school classes where youth create modern-day harvest dances, weaving together rhythms created by kitchen items, stories generated by creative writing exercises, and family recipes.
- A documentary film comprised of residents’ stories about their food heritage and the transformation of their current eating practices
- These elements will culminate in a final community celebration at CounterPULSE. Youth will perform the food-oriented dances and spoken-word pieces developed in their after-school classes, sharing the stage with food-oriented performances by professional dancers. Families will bring dishes that represent healthy versions of family classics, and the final documentary will be screened.
“It was life changing. This should go around the world with schools and everyone they can reach and reconnect humans, change minds, souls, and health. Flawless. I’m coming again.” –Audience Member
“I was completely blown away by the production. Rarely do I feel this way after seeing any type of performance and I still find myself meditating on the images, words, movement, flavors, and power behind the work. I can’t thank you enough for investing in this. I am so moved by the work, I am honestly a little speechless. All I can say is thank you.” –Audience Member
To see Amara Tabor Smith’s blog posts and more pictures and videos from the Our Daily Bread performance piece, please click here>>
Special Thanks: The Our Daily Bread Project has been made possible by a generous grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission.