From Granary to Arts Incubator: An Evolutionary Perspective on the Concept of Food for Thought

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Does our food for thought come virtually from the internet? When we take a long view, the instant stroke of a keyboard pales in comparison to the centuries-old evolution of real food harvesting and the generation and exchange of ideas, which have resulted in creative capital. The vernacular architecture of the agricultural built environment has almost dematerialized in its transition from the ancient pre-industrial era to the post-truth world, to become almost only an imagined concept. The symbology of the common threshing terrace of a Portuguese remote mountain village can now be found in multiple spaces of the urban realm, including in the metaphor of a community arts incubator’s modus operandi in Albany, New York (USA). How has the concept of food for thought developed and materialized? How has it evolved? And what are some of the expected ways it might be utilized in the future? The purpose of the paper is to trace the evolution of this concept and its elements via the BLC Framework. The methodology employs a time analysis of approximately three centuries to distinguish three distinct evolutionary phases: (i) the pre-industrial era, (ii) the industrial era, and (iii) the information-driven era. The key finding is an up-to-date discussion of the food for thought concept in two distinct geographical worlds and three-time eras, as well as a set of lessons learned according to a protest poem and a rock song. The results are presented in the form of five lessons learned with implications for public policy: the first two lessons pertain to issues of procedural justice as encapsulated in the anonymous ‘The Goose’ poem, while the last three result from a discussion of selected verses in Nick Cave’s ‘Fable of the Brown Ape’ rock song.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 9 Jan 2024


  • working landscape
  • community prosperity
  • BLC framework
  • Northern Iberian Peninsula
  • US Northeast
  • New York


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