Urban garden called the Nursery.

The Urban Food exhibition will make Helsinki City Museum lush and green

Cities are growing, and urbanisation continues as a global megatrend. At the same time, climate change is also changing food production. The exhibition on the fourth floor of the City Museum will showcase Helsinki as a place for food production throughout history and in the future. It will also ask the audience: What role will cities have in new and more sustainable food production and cuisine? In connection with the exhibition, the museum will also open a fascinating and engaging urban garden called the Nursery – in the middle of the bustling city. This exhibition on current themes will serve the audience an exciting and surprising taste of future urban food. The exhibition will be at Helsinki City Museum from 1 June to 27 September 2020.

The exhibition, created in collaboration between the City Museum and environmental organisation Dodo ry, is a dialogue where various experts and operators answer questions collected from young people. The participants include a top chef, a futurist, WWF’s food expert, a garden pedagogue, an urban beekeeper and a potato farmer from Töölö. In place of simple answers, the content is a collection of reflections, visions, solutions and examples related to how we could have sufficient food for everyone while reducing the environmental load. The exhibition also illustrates new methods of food production, such as hydroponic and aeroponic solutions and the future food industry, through concrete examples: you can see shoots growing in water and learn about cell culture with plant cells, among other things.

Urban agriculture is not a new phenomenon, but it is very topical right now. Hunger for knowledge, particularly regarding the origin of food and the impact of personal choices, has also increased interest in urban agriculture in Helsinki; growing food close to home also makes the urban environment greener. Even in an increasingly dense metropolitan area, agriculture can be expanded vertically.

The concept of the City Museum’s fourth floor involves expanding people’s ideas of a museum through content that evokes strong emotions. “It’s great that we were able to get living plants for this exhibition, such as air potatoes and micro-shoots. This way, visitors get to see new technologies for urban food in practice,” says Exhibition Producer Johanna Björkman.

The Nursery in the museum’s courtyard is an innovative urban garden and activity centre. The audience can follow its development throughout the growing season. A September harvest festival is also being planned for the Nursery. The exhibition will even expand outside the museum: satellite works will guide visitors to urban food in Malmi and Itäkeskus. These works will be implemented together with young residents in August.

The Urban Food exhibition is a part of environmental organisation Dodo ry’s 25th anniversary celebrations. “Through its urban agriculture activities, Dodo wants to introduce people to the challenges associated with global phenomena, such as food security and water and nutrient use. We do this in a practical way where people get to experience the miracle of growth and the joy of working together,” says Dodo’s Head of Communications Elisa Niemi.

Urban Food
1 June–27 September 2020
Helsinki City Museum, 4th floor
Aleksanterinkatu 16
Open Mon–Fri 11:00–19:00, Sat–Sun 11:00–17:00

Always free entry

Photo: Urban Food, The Nursery 2020 / Photo: Yehia Eweis / Helsinki City Museum