My HASHI Stories

Treat Soil? No it’s time to Eat soils— 

Mako/President of HASHI

the Museum of Edible Earth—

This phrase dragged me into an hour of reading and researching. 

YouthFab 2021 Winners announcement poster

One day ago, I received an article announcing the winner of YouthFab, a creative award organized by Fab Cafe, International communities of creators. 

(>>here’s the website of the YouthFab https://www.youfab.info/2021/winners/the-museum-of-edible-earth ) I didn’t enroll but as one of environmental activists who have been researching about salt affected soils, the words “ Edible Earth” really stood out to me, so I clicked the >>read more bar. 

I expect few of you have an idea with what the YouthFab and what this competition is about, I summed up the theme for this year. 

This year’s theme was “Democratic experiments”.

Creating one thing always involves countless human beings’ contribution. However, due to massive production and massive consumption of the worlds’ production systems, we, man have been destroying our living environments and eco-systems. The theme aimed creative projects(works) to be something democratic in a small community. 

Taken that, let’s go back to soil talk.

The Museum of Edible Earth  is the soil collection museum given a grand prize. 

The whole concept of the museum was something like this. 

The Museum of Edible Earth is a project from the Amsterdam-based artist masharu (RU/NL – They/Them) through their studio, the masharu studio. Its goal is to constitute an extensive collection of soils suggested for oral use from the most countries possible and, through their different cultural uses and histories, but also with the help of cross-disciplinary partnerships, workshops and collaborations, redesigning and reconsidering the earth.

(Copied from YouthLab Winner’s page)

>>check out this link for further details https://www.youfab.info/2021/winners/the-museum-of-edible-earth

This idea of eating earth was actually I’d never imagined before, so first It really shocked me. But then thinking back, I have realized that this way of thinking is pretty important when it comes to considering the connections between earth and us, humans. Soils create all our products to eat and survive, yet we all underestimate how they help our lives and support us to live. Because we don’t usually see. 

Apparently, this behavior of eating clays have a precise word.

Geophagy— 

I looked up what the Geophagy is all about and its actual practices. 

Geophagy is the practice of eating earth and soil-like substances, such as clay, chalk, and soft rocks. Since ancient times, people have believed in the sacredness of the earth. The importance of touching or eating earth is present in many cultures. In the Bible and Koran, God created the first human out of clay. In Africa, South America and Asia earth-eating is still a common cultural, spiritual, or healing practice. Regardless of religion and country, the earth is an embodiment of nature as the mother.  It symbolises female, life-giving forces, fertility, and the continuity of the lineage. In some cultures, eating earth can be seen as a spiritual practice of reconnection with one’s origins, with oneself, and with the invigorating power.  While in Europe and the USA eating earth was as well a cultural tradition, it is now officially regarded as a psychological disorder, known as pica, which is included in DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).  However, some people in the Netherlands still practice various types of earth eating. Several popular brands available in health shops, such as Ecoplaza and Biomarkt, provide clay officially meant for internal use. Besides, several clays from Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, and Suriname are available on the Dutch market in cultural shops as unlabelled products.

Again, super surprised to learn how soils had been playing an crucial role in many ways in many parts of the world from ancient times. Soils had been appreciated a lot and that must be the reason why numerous groups of people took it as an spiritually sacred existence. 

Now in a modern era, we have almost zero chances to actually interact with soils especially for urban citizens. We don’t even try to touch the ground. Some even hate it since there are insects everywhere. No wonder we cannot notice how soils have been damaged by human activities. 

Eating soils might be another way to cultivate our relationships with soils, the source of every agricultural & industrial products. 

Well, I cannot eat soils everyday, that’s a bit intimidating to me since there has been some adverse effects reported. Still, I’d love to try one day or at least, live with healthy soils. 

Thank you for reading, stay safe and have a nice Wednesday!

Mako/ President and Management director of HASHI

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