Mini-mal (Colombia) |
Mini-mal is a project in the form of a restaurant and design shop based on promoting the values of biodiversity, cultural diversity and creativity through art, culinary and design experiences. Mini-mal offers the possibility of becoming acquainted with local ingredients that are part of the region’s biological and cultural wealth but are relatively unknown. Creativity is Mini-mal’s strategy for making the new familiar and bringing a sense of surprise back into routine gastronomic farethrough a contemporary cuisine that is surprisingly Colombian. The project seeks to combine esthetics with ethics and economy: one example is the promotion of Pacific and Amazonian culinary ingredients and traditions that provide commercial alternatives to the communities of both regions (with the support of the Equilibrio Foundation), along with the creation and distribution of design that hinge on the use recycled materials.
Mini-mal is a creative group made up of the agricultural scientist Eduardo Martínez, artists Antonuela Ariza, Germán Martínez and Manuel Romero, and the graphic designer Ángela Martínez.
Mini-mal is a project of the Equilibrio Foundation. The Foundation works with Colombian communties with the purpose of developing work methodologies within and with communities that guarantee self-recognition. They have diverse projects related to agriculture and green markets, economic planning, communications, collaboration, organizational strengthening and environmental education. Mini-mal is one of these projects. www.fundacionequilibrio.org
In this interview the sustainable-development consultant Sonja Janousek talks to two of Mini-mal’s members, Manuel Romero and Eduardo Martínez.
Manuel Arturo Romero Pulido (Santa Fe de Bogotá, 1968)
An artist, he is a graduate of Colombia’s National University. He has worked with the Equilibrio Foundation in cultural, economic and environmental development projects in rural areas of Colombia that seek to incorporate the creative thinking of the arts and encourage local participants to play a leading role in finding solutions to environmental and economic issues. His art work focuses on our affective bonds with the places where we live and the way we perceive, think about and feel such spaces. He has held several exhibitions, taken part in regional and national art salons, and worked as a professor in the Fine Arts School of the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University.
Eduardo Martínez (Bogotá, Colombia, 1971)
An agricultural scientist, he graduated from Colombia’s National University in 1996 specializing in the area of sustainable development. He has been the Executive Director of the Equilibrio Foundation since 1999. His work in Mini-mal has turned him into a cook and culinary researcher, focusing on the development of a "surprisingly Colombian contemporary cuisine" as Mini-mal’s executive chef. In 2006 he joined the slow food eco-gastronomic movement, which was launched to counteract the negativeeffects of fast food and a fast lifestyle and prevent the disappearance of local culinary traditions. Since 2007 he has been teaching Colombian cuisine as part of the Fundación Escuela Taller de Bogotá’s gastronomy program and is a member of the Foundation’s friendship association. For the past eight years he has been acknowledged as a pioneer and advocate of local Colombian cuisine and traditions; he was recently named Man of the Year in the field of social responsibility by La Barra magazine and was awarded second place in the Kendon McDonald prize for research and social responsibility.