Kitchen Cultures: Fermenting (with) the trouble

ECOLOGIES | Essays  }

Kaajal Modi / October 16, 2021
The cultural politics of fermentation, explored through recipes, theory, poetry, and stories. 4849 words / 20 min read

Image: Kaajal Modi

Editor's note: This essay is a container in which a variety of material is fermented together with the theoretical text. Please click the headings to expand and explore.

      Contains culture

I am a container
I am a plastic tub
I am the ice cream tub that my baa uses
To store achar, biscuits, sewing supplies

I contain culture
I contain more than culture
I am microbial
I am magical
I am ecological
(I am practical)

I am not the hero of this story
I will not give you botulism
But I can hold space
For your stories
And my stories

Which together (given time)
Might contaminate each other
Transforming each other
Becoming something new
(If we let it)

Something microbial, magical, ecological (practical)
That can adapt to fit
That transforms, as it is transformed
That is liquid

I am liquid
I am earth
And when I die, I will become ash and earth
I will become nutrients, nitrogen, carbon

I am in and of the world,
contaminated, impure
I change, I adapt to fit
Into the spaces I am afforded

Yet I remain,
Creating space
Containing space

1. Fermenting food futures.

The future of food is now: from AI-controlled robotic labourers working in hermetically-sealed vertical skyscraper farms, to edible animal and fish technologies cultured in labs from stem cells; from salmon farms transplanted from the net pens of Norwegian fjords into Floridean “bluehouses”, to gene-edited seaweed grown on land and engineered to take up excess salt from soils; from pesticide-free weedkilling devices that operate by electrically “liquifying” plants, to NASA-inspired extremophile bacteria that can be added to your food as a protein supplement. This is a food system for the future as imagined by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, and funded by the deep pockets of venture capitalism and technology billionaires. What these types of instrumental solutionism often gloss over is that technology requires resources—resources that, in our world, are increasingly precious and scarce; and that extracting those resources often creates a much more damaging environmental and sociocultural legacy than the solutions we might have already had in place.

While some of these technologies might offer the potential for timely and appropriate responses to the food (and climate) crisis, others still are fuelled by tech-utopian and transhumanist ideologies, underpinned by Eurocentric assumptions of human exceptionalism, and the settler colonial logics of extraction. Activist and food writer Alicia Kennedy has written that these forms of technological innovation are a case of attempting to “fix [a global food system] that [has] been broken by capitalism with more, better capitalism”.

What we need instead is to imagine alternative technologies that can provide real and adequate responses to the climate crisis, and to food shortages worldwide, without reinforcing and replicating existing global inequality and exploitation. So what are some of the tools, techniques, knowledges and technologies available to us that we might use to create food futures that are inclusive, accessible, just, and accountable, and that might cause less harm to our planet and all the beings that inhabit it?

Innovation-led (rather than justice-led) technologies might be a subset of what Ursula K. Le Guin, in her short essay ‘The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction’, terms the “Techno-Heroic”. Suggesting that the utility of the heroic story might be coming to an end, she urges those of us who have always been excluded from it to come together, in order to create an alternative. She calls this other story “the untold story; the life story”. If, as Virginia Woolf suggested, heroism is another word for botulism, and thus the hero is a bottle, then what Le Guin instead proposes is the bottle as hero. In other words, she proposes the story as a container that holds the capacity to carry others, in the form of a carrier bag—arguably the first technology.

Carrier bags are stories that create opportunities to imagine a more hopeful world, technologies that might open up and sustain other ways of being human. They are a container for carrying things, whether those things are necessities such as food or water, or things that we find beautiful or interesting enough that we might take them home (which is itself another container). By “redefining science and technology as primarily a cultural carrier bag rather than the weapon of domination”, Le Guin believes that we might create science fictions that are realistic, and thus immensely suited as a response to our strange reality.

2. Fermentation as material and metaphor

“Microbial cultures are essential to life’s processes, such as digestion and immunity. We humans are in a symbiotic relationship with these single-cell life-forms. Microflora, as they are often called, digest food into nutrients our bodies can absorb, protect us from potentially dangerous organisms, and teach our immune systems how to function… Microorganisms are our ancestors and our allies…”

Sandor Katz1

As a practice that has been used to purify, enhance the flavour and extend the life of foods and drinks for millennia, fermentation and its outcomes are familiar to human beings from many cultures and geographies. Recently, artists, writers and researchers have been revisiting microbial fermentation practices as a conceptual framework through which to navigate the political, cultural and social moment, and to draw out complex relationalities and entanglements with our ecological and cultural communities. After decades of neoliberal and capitalist rhetoric on competition and individualism, rooted in a very particular type of social Darwinism, the idea that we might be part of a larger network of life in which we collaborate with each other, and with other organisms, feels compelling.

So fermentation is a familiar practice which can engage people from diverse cultural and geographical origins, and a set of concepts which we can use to think through urgent political questions. But fermentation also offers us something else—a relational paradigm, through which we can understand our own position as participants within ecology. It turns out that despite what we may have historically thought, life is symbiosis all the way down.

What does it mean to position fermentation as a container; as a medium and a metaphor through which to understand the complex relations that make up our food web, and through which we might understand our own complicities? Could we think about fermentation, after LeGuin, as a container? A space of fiction, in and through which we can both imagine and taste the ecologies that co-constitute us?

Could we think about fermentation as space of fiction, in and through which we can both imagine and taste the ecologies that co-constitute us?

3. Microbiopolitics, post-Pasteurianism, and the politics of purity

“Being against purity means that there is no primordial state we might wish to get back to, no Eden we have desecrated, no pretoxic body we might uncover through enough chia seeds and kombucha. There is not a preracial state we could access, erasing histories of slavery, forced labor on railroads, colonialism, genocide, and their concomitant responsibilities and requirements. There is no food we can eat, clothing we can buy, or energy we can use without deepening our ties to complex webs of suffering. So, what happens if we start from there?”

Alexis Shotwell2

Heather Paxson is a cultural anthropologist who has been working with raw cheese makers in the US for almost two decades. In 2008, she introduced the notion of microbiopolitics in a paper intended to call attention to the fact that dissent about how humans should live with microorganisms often reflects disagreements over how we ought to live with each other.3 As a concept, microbiopolitics builds on Foucault’s notion of biopolitics: the categorisation of humans via statistical measurement, and the rational management of the conditions of life for a given population. Further incorporating Bruno Latour’s research on how microbial agents were constructed as “pure” social relations through policy, as elements to be eliminated so that human polities might be better cultivated, Paxton theorises what she calls a politics of post-Pasteurianism.

Embodying post-Pasteurian politics, artisanal ‘raw’ cheesemakers in rural parts of the US represent an investment in “the potentialities of collaborative human and microbial cultural practices”, embracing any “life with other species—bacteria particularly—that involves pleasure and risk, nourishment and discomfort, labour and reward”.4 Which is not to say that post-Pasteurianism advocates for an unthinking, uncritical consideration of microbes as universally beneficial. Our microbial kin are as likely to cause us illness as they are to keep us well; our bodies are in a continuous and delicate balancing act with our co-species organisms, and Paxson is particularly sceptical of the adoption of her theories by so-called ‘post-Pasteurians’ who would suggest that microbes are universally beneficial.

The recent adoption of fermentation as a purity practice rooted in what fermentation researcher Maya Hey calls “healthist fermentation”5 does a disservice to both the microbial others with whom we collaborate as much as it does to the cultural history of fermentation as a technology continuously adapting to its context, and the diversity of people who practice it. Fermentation as a kitchen practice flourishes through adaptation, and microbial history is the history of surviving adversity via collaborative encounter. Fermentation is about contamination, about decay, about thriving in the ruins. Thinking about fermentation as a multispecies cross-cultural cultivation equips us with a material metaphor to think about our bodies and our socio-political selves as part of ecological systems that allow us to consider the organisms with which we share bacteria and the processes in which we are all collaborators (which is not to suggest equal agency for every participant in the fermentation process). If we follow Heather Paxson’s formulation of microbiopolitics, in order to flourish in this post-Pasteurian world, we must learn to live with, and invest in the potentialities of, collaborative human and microbial cultural practices on their own terms.

4. Multispecies conviviality and the agency of others

“To acknowledge nonhuman materialities as participants in a political ecology is not to claim that everything is always a participant, or that all participants are alike. Persons, worms, leaves, bacteria, metals, and hurricanes have different types and degrees of power, just as different persons have different types and degrees of power, different worms have different types and degrees of power, and so on, depending on the time, place, compositions and density of the formation.”

Jane Bennett6

In my project, Kitchen Cultures, I have explored fermentation as something that anthropologist Anna Tsing calls an ‘art of noticing’, a practice that can account for the lively agencies and collaborative entanglements of other-than-humans and other-humans.7 Following researcher and writer Mercedes Vilallba’s notion of fermentation as an “attunement to the microscopic networks of bacteria, fungi, lichens and roots that make matter opaque”, I have mobilised the material practice of fermenting as a way to ‘notice’ the multispecies relations in our food systems, as an attunement with the microbes in our foods, our bodies and our environments; and to the people who make up our food chain, who contribute to the microbial diversity of our foods and environments, but who also have their own cultural lives that we might just be tuning into, as a way of framing non-instrumental care as complicity and kinship. Using fermentation, we could also ‘notice’ the species relationships that live in our kitchens, cellars, gardens and pantries (but might often be overlooked) as important scientific and ethical knowledge. This attunement is something which philosopher Alexis Shotwell credits as a recognition or ethical regard of organisms in their own right:

“Naming and noticing might be a way to care humanly, but not instrumentally, to recognize and value the facts that [organisms]… have their own life that we are just tuning into.”8

By working through a collaborative practice of food preservation and microbial fermentation with my participants in order to explore these ideas, I further intend to utilise concepts such as symbiosis, collaboration and adaptation that live at the heart of the fermentation process as a way to think through experiences of migration, colonisation and culture, and the food practices, land traditions and climate cosmologies that inform them. Like the matsutake mushroom that Tsing uses to explore the concept of ‘noticing’, fermentation is lively, collaborative, and entangled within multiple cultures, peoples and practices (from) all over the world. In fermenting or eating a fermented food, much like in foraging or eating a matsutake mushroom, we are imbricated within webs of entangled species-relations that are as much about humans as the other organisms with whom we share our worlds. Conceptually, this allows me to explore the questions that fermentation raises about the agency of our microbial partners as a useful heuristic to think through participation, as it echoes similar problematics to those raised in collaborative work involving other humans.

Rinkal x Soha

Rinkal and Soha came together through a shared love of pickling and feeding other people.

Theirs was what I would describe as a truly fermentation-led collaboration. By which I mean that they were literally fermenting, in that the recipes they developed are lacto-fermented pickles. I also mean it metaphorically: they came together and shared knowledge and adapted to each other so wonderfully; they created recipes that were transformed through their collaboration with each other.

I hope that they themselves were also transformed through the practice.

Rinkal was extremely excited to learn about Iranian spices such as sumac, which she has incorporated into her traditional North Indian oil pickle/achar. Soha has likewise incorporated Indian spices into a traditional Iranian Torshi. Both recipes are shared below, along with some poems written by Rinkal and Soha during their collaboration.

What makes an organism symbiotic? Biologist Lynn Margulis was the first to imagine that symbiosis, far from being unusual or remarkable, was in fact the basis of life within our universe9. Ninety percent of the DNA in our bodies belongs to microbial entities,10 and our bodies contain (marginally) more microbial cells than human ones11. Humans share microbes with each other, and with other species in our environment. The worlds of microbes impact us metabolically, in terms of “the behavior, development, ecology, and evolution of the much larger world of which we are a part and with which we co-evolved”12. Microbes feed us, feed off us, protect us from disease, and may even affect our moods and our habits13.

These discoveries makes it increasingly difficult to separate ourselves as human beings from our microbial entanglements. Humans are a colony of bacteria, and we are also individuals who make up cultures and societies. We are a result of millennia of bacterial development and co-constitution that allow us to digest food, and of viral infections that shaped our ancestors’ placentae. The diverse cultures at play in fermentation situate human and non-human beings as part of complex webs of interdependence and shared kinship, and challenge essentialising categories such as ‘human’ and ‘other’. Humans are a part of nature, and nature is part of us; thinking through more-than-human modes might offer novel ways to re-imagine our relationships with other organisms, and with each other, as symbiotic and co-constitutive.

However, these multispecies potentialities raise important questions about the agency of collaborators, both inter- and intra-species. Can you have convivial interactions without consent? Can you presume a concept of consent in other organisms without being anthropocentric? In her book Vibrant Matter,14 political theorist Jane Bennett suggests a “vital materiality” that runs through and across bodies, both human and nonhuman. By exploring how political analyses of public events could change were we to acknowledge that agency always emerges as the effect of multispecies entanglements of human (including what we might traditionally refer to as “things”), she suggests we might recognise that this agency is not solely the province of humans.

Chilli Carrot Pickle
  1. Wash, peel & cut carrots into desired sizes. (Approx. 4 carrots for 1 jar.)
  2. Mix salt and turmeric in a bowl. Add carrots, cover, and let rest for 5 hours.
  3. After 5 hours, drain the water released from the carrots. Wrap them up in a clean cloth and rest overnight (minimum 8 hours).
  4. Heat 1 tbsp of oil with crushed methi seeds (fenugreek) and mustard seeds. Let this roast for a couple of minutes, and then cool.
  5. Create a dry spice mix for the pickling including: chilli powder, sumac, salt, fennel seeds, and kalonji, if you have it.
  6. Add the dry and wet spice mixtures to the carrots. Stir to combine, then, place into a sterilized jar. Add 1 spoon of vinegar.
  7. Now, heat up an oil of your choosing. (The amount of oil is dependent on how you’d like it to be stored. If you want to keep your pickle out of the fridge for up to a year, the carrots should be completely covered in oil. You can also add oil to about halfway up the carrots, if you'll be eating it quickly or storing it in the fridge. It will keep out of the fridge for only about a month with the smaller amount of oil.)
  8. Get the oil very hot, and then turn off the heat and let it cool completely for a few hours.
  9. Add the cooled oil to your jar!
  10. All done.
Recipe notes:
  • Heat the oil the night before, and allow to cool fully before adding to the pickle.
  • The longer you leave the pickle out of the fridge, the more the taste will develop.
  • Herbs and spices can be used based on what’s available! Open for experimentation!

5. Fermentation as multispecies metaphor

“Fermentation is political; fermentation is vitalism; fermentation is accessibility; fermentation is preservation and transformation; fermentation is inter-species symbiosis and coevolution; fermentation is survival and futurity; fermentation is care of the self and care of others; fermentation is harm reduction; fermentation is queer time; and fermentation is collaboration. Fermentation is a way to tap into the fizzy currents within transnational feminist practices.”

Lauren Fournier15

Curator and artist Lauren Fournier uses fermentation in her “curatorial experiments” as a way to explore and juxtapose intersectional feminisms. Fournier is fascinated by the fact that fermentation embodies both preservation and transformation, and is therefore a vital practice to think through the pressing political concerns of our time. In their intensely situated nature, food fermentation practices preclude simplification, reduction and translation, seeming to resist commodification and production at scale, at least at the levels of complexity and specificity that might render them effective, useful, or compatible with capitalist modes of extraction and sanitisation. Everything from the language we use to talk about fermentation (culture, collaboration, symbiosis), to the fact that as a technological practice it contributes to care and nourishment in the most immediate sense, suggests mutually-constitutive modes of being that echo new insights in science and ecology about life being symbiotic instead of always competitive.

In Fermentation as Metaphor,16 Sandor Katz explores the multiple potentialities of fermentation as a tool for imagining and creating the future, using it as a lens through which to explore ourselves and our cultures. Materially, Katz is concerned with fermentation as a practice of cellular metabolism that can be mobilised towards activism and of care. Conceptually, he explores it as a lens through which to explore political and personal concerns including neurodiversity, nationalism and identity. Fermentation is a cellular process, but the word can also mean to agitate, excite, or bubble. In Mercedes Villalba’s Fervent Manifesto, she tells us that fermentation shows us the invisible connections of everything. Vilallba calls for us to rise in fervor, to create joy as a political matter, and to demand the right to survive in happiness. We must craft bubbles, as pockets of air and spaces of exception, even if they are temporary, in which to cultivate the future.

Carrot Torshi Style
  1. Wash and chop all vegetables (carrots & also cauliflower if desired) – add salt and leave to dry overnight .
  2. Wash and chop herbs (coriander, tarragon, dill) and allow them to dry as well (overnight not necessary).
  3. Mix vegetables & herbs in a bowl.
  4. Mix spices in a separate bowl, or in the same one as the vegetables:
      turmeric for colour
    • 3 table spoons of salt (for 2 large jars of torshi---you need enough to adequately coat and salt your bowl of vegetables)
    • 1 tsp per jar of any other spices such as cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, and fennel seeds, depending on what you have!
  5. Vegetables and herbs go into the jar & you fill it to the top with vinegar of your choice. 1 chilli and a couple of cloves of garlic / shallots & a bay leaf are nice inside as well, usually placed at the bottom.
  6. Let it sit in a dark cool place for 10 days before opening.
Recipe notes:
  • Good to keep out of the fridge for at least a month as long as liquid is still covering the vegetables/herbs.
  • I prefer to store it in the fridge for extra crunch and contrasting temperature to hot foods.
  • Herbs and spices can be used based on what’s available! Open for experimentation!

6. Conclusion: Liveable collaborations in blasted landscapes.

…staying alive—for every species—requires liveable collaborations. Collaboration means working across difference, which leads to contamination. Without collaborations, we all die.

Anna Tsing17

Donna Haraway, in her introduction to the posthumous re-issue of Le Guin’s The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction in 2019, paraphrases her well-known call to mattering thus: “It matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what concepts we think to think other concepts with.” As instances of what Haraway has called “SF”—speculative feminisms, string figures, scientific facts, speculative fabulations, science fictions—what does food fermentation offer us in terms of matter through which to tell the story of food futures that “stay with the trouble”18 of complex ecological complicities and entanglements? In what ways could these practices expand and extend our (food) imaginaries to include others, and others’ stories? How might these techniques and recipes themselves contain stories of migration, colonisation, geographies and survival, that open up, rather than foreclose, possibility?

What could these containers enable us to ‘notice’ about different relationships to climate through the food fermentation practices of migrants in the kitchen, a site that has traditionally belonged to domestic, feminised labour? The natural-cultural binaries that underpin ideals of purity are imbricated within categorisations and classifications that (far too easily) fall into the delineations of material purity across race, class, gender, ability, sexuality and illness.19 By working through contamination, through fermentation, we might create “bubbles… in which to cultivate the future”, however temporary, where we might all flourish.

While this way of knowing the world is compelling, it sometimes fails to take into account the ways in which some of us are already entangled within forms of structural inequality that are the legacies of these landscapes, such as racism, homophobia, class inequality, gender inequality, transphobia, ableism, and many other intersecting axes of exclusion and oppression. While we are always already complicit, not all of us are equally implicated within these structures of complicity. Sylvia Wynter’s challenge to the category of human is instructive here: to those of us who have had the possibility of inhabiting this category deliberately foreclosed to us, in what ways can thinking through precarity open up new ways of be(come)ing human20? Can we claim this dehumanisation, not as a normative position, but as a challenge to the forms of binarism that require us to conform or to be other(ed)?

I wanted to ask these questions as part of a process that valued the stories, practices and climate cosmologies of our collaborators, using an emergent participatory methodology that acted beyond the extractive, exploitative, and tokenistic. It was important to not serve up our outcomes as orientialised morsels for consumption without due care or regard for their origins. At the same time as trying to stay true to the experiences of our collaborators, it was important not to fetishise the cultural origins themselves: the heart of this project is cross-contamination and cross-pollination of ideas and experiences, and the adaptation and evolution, and response to context that is a key part of any migrant’s story. Much like the process of fermentation, the outcomes have been emergent, contradictory and surprising.

Poetry by Rinkal & Soha

edible memory, by soha

at times i find it difficult to remember things that are probably significant
but some memories just aren’t appetizing
they’re bitter but not in a nice way like sucking on citrus peels
they’re tart but not in a nice way like an entire greengage in my mouth
they can be hard to chew and hard to swallow too
so sometimes i’ll eat fast and then forget

the moments i do remember keep me full though

realizing i could have feelings for her when she pocketed three apricots before leaving the house
learning that the perfect grilled cheese has its bread buttered inside and out
discovering we were both lactose intolerant and trying our best to hold off
drawing with pancake batter
instructed to eat every last grain because “do you know how much water it takes to grow rice?” (i’m habitually vigilant now)
three days straight of smelling like my favourite stew, you said I tasted like it too
making loved ones laugh when i lick the plate clean and silly
watching in awe as you lower saffron cotton candy into your mouth with your head tilted way back
confessing that i enjoy eating onions raw
her admitting she enjoys it too
spitting small pits into big hands
struggling to crack open fully enclosed pistachios with baby teeth
bullied off the beach by seagulls with our takeout fish & chips
tupperware filled with fresh pomegranate seeds for recess when the season hit
judged by my dentist for an obvious excess in lemon intake
our first and only argument over leftover chilli
heart shaped fig insides on our second date but you couldn’t look because you have trypophobia
ghee as a gift
meeting someone i want to cook for forever

these memories are sandwiched between blank spaces that look like empty plates
but i think what matters is that i can remember these
and i’m happy to only remember these

Crunchy Carrots, by Rinkal (helped by Arya)

Crunchy carrots, carrots, carrots.
As bright as a parrot, parrot, parrot.
You can use it as a snowman’s nose but
don’t put it in your hose!

I like carrots in my soup,
I like carrots in my cake,
I like carrots, nice and crunchy but they’re hard to bake!

Crunchy carrots, carrots, carrots.
As bright as a parrot, parrot, parrot.
You can use it as a snowman’s nose but
don’t put it in your hose!

When I cook a carrot, the smell is nice.
When I cook a carrot, I put it in my rice!

Rice Rap, by Rinkal (helped by Shriya)

I like rice,
I like rice,
I like rice,
With a bit of spice.

I like spice,
I like spice,
I like spice,
When it’s on some rice.

To find out more about the Kitchen Cultures project, check out, or email Fatima at [email protected], or Kaajal on [email protected].

  1. Sandor Katz. 2003. Wild Fermentation. Chelsea, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, p.xviii. 

  2. Alexis Shotwell. 2016. Against Purity: Living Ethically in Compromised Times. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, p.4. 

  3. Heather Paxson. 2008. ‘Post‐pasteurian Cultures: The Microbiopolitics of Raw‐milk Cheese in the United States’. In Cultural Anthropology 23(1):15–47. 

  4. Eben Kirksey. 2014. The Multispecies Salon. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 

  5. HEY, Maya. 2020. ‘Against Healthist Fermentation: Problematizing the ‘Good’of Gut Health and Ferments’. Journal of Critical Dietetics 5(1). 

  6. Jane Bennett. 2010. Vibrant Matter: A political ecology of things. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010, p.286. 

  7. See Anna Tsing. 2015. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; Anna Tsing et al. 2017. ‘Introduction: Bodies Tumbled into Bodies’, in Tsing et all (eds.) Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp.1-11. 

  8. Shotwell (2016), Against Purity

  9. Lynn Margulis. 1981. Symbiosis in Cell Evolution: Life and Its Environment on the Early Earth. San Francisco: WH Freeman. 

  10. See Kelley Donati. 2014. ‘The Convivial Table: Imagining Ethical Relations Through Multispecies Gastronomy.’ In The Aristologist: An Antipodean Journal of Food History 4:127–143; Ed Yong. 2016. I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes within Us and a Grander View of Life. New York: Random House. 

  11. See Yong (2016), I Contain Multitudes

  12. Lynn Margulis & Dorian Sagan. 1997. Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, p. 204. 

  13. See Donati (2014), ‘The Convivial Table’; Yong (2016), I Contain Multitudes; Vuong et al. 2017. ‘The Microbiome and Host Behaviour’. In Annual Review of Neuroscience 40:21–49; Valles-Colomer et al. 2019. ‘The Neuroactive Potential of the Human Gut Microbiota in Quality of Life and Depression’. In Nature Microbiology 4(4):623–32. 

  14. Bennett (2010). 

  15. Lauren Fournier. 2020. ‘Fermenting Feminism as Methodology and Metaphor’. In Environmental Humanities 12(1), p. 88–112. 

  16. Sandor Katz. 2020. Fermentation as Metaphor. Chelsea, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing. 

  17. Tsing (2015), The Mushroom at the End of the World, p.28. 

  18. See Donna Haraway. 2016. _Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 

  19. Shotwell (2016), Against Purity

  20. Katherine McKittrick. 2015. Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 


Kaajal Modi (@kaajalmodi)

Kaajal Modi (she/they) is a multidisciplinary designer and researcher interested in how humans and other organisms can create ecological futures based on mutually-assured survival. They are a researcher in Engagement for Biological Architecture at Newcastle University, where they invite humans and more-than-humans into collaboratively imagining new biotechnologies for the built environment. They are also currently completing a PhD exploring food fermentation as an inter-cultural care practice with migrant women from the global majority at the University of the West of England, Bristol, supervised through the Art & Design department and Science Communication Unit.