When COVID-19 lockdowns interrupted Canadian supply chains and prompted discussions about the future of food in the spring of 2020, my family and I were already living within a complex experiment to create a new food economy. In 2018, the city of Guelph, Ontario and surrounding Wellington County–a national food research and production centre–received federal funding to become Canada’s first circular food economy, a sustainable model emerging worldwide utilizing regional food waste to enhance the local production and consumption of contaminant free food. As the pandemic changed how everyone accesses food overnight, we built a garden with our children and immersed ourselves in the local food networks embedded in the landscapes surrounding us. Metabolic Shift documents our early participation in this nascent economic order in Guelph and Wellington County during the harvest season of 2020, as the second wave of COVID-19 gradually enveloped North America. Made with Polaroid film to physically capture the fundamentally commercial, yet ephemeral nature of regional food economies, my images attempt to visualize our experience in a new socio-economic system tested by global volatility. They also render visible the once forsaken, life sustaining power of food we can no longer take for granted.

Using Format