People meeting at the Climavore Oyster Table at low tide in Portree Skye


Arts, education and science combine to explore food production with positive benefits for our climate.

Everyone is talking about sustainability. More than sustainability, we need to look at how we promote lesser harm, and find forms of food sourcing that are regenerative and build ecology.
Alon Schwabe , Co-founder of CLIMAVORE, Cooking Sections

Global questions and local solutions - CLIMAVORE and Skye

The artists behind a project exploring food and climate change, which has been shaped by their work in Skye, have been nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize 2021.

Internationally renowned Cooking Sections, who are London based duo Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe, first came to Skye in 2016 at the invitation of Atlas Arts. Their ongoing work and the ATLAS Oyster Table has provided a unique location to explore alternative methods of food production in the face of the climate emergency.

CLIMAVORE: On Tidal Zones aims to promote education, heritage and research of coastal ecologies. The project works with young people, businesses, scientists, the community and visitors across a range of projects. Find out more about what's been happening and its future plans.

Continuing to work with ATLAS Arts on a range of projects from apprenticeships to recipe books and community events, CLIMAVORE has also recently become a community interest company in its own right.

Climavore photographs courtesy of Nick Middleton, Matthew A. Williams and CLIMAVORE

aerial shot of Oyster Table in Portree

Atlas Arts – How it all started

ATLAS Arts, founded in 2010, carries out a wide range of projects with artists and residents across Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh, supporting events and activities covering topics relevant to place and time.  

The organisation’s founding director Emma Nicolson was interested in bringing together people from across a range of industries, crofting, fisherfolk, businesses, and the community to explore food production in the context of agriculture and aquaculture, jobs, the environment and the economy.

Together with Cooking Sections they developed the CLIMAVORE: On Tidal Zones project. By using a wide variety of means – arts, education, sharing of cultural heritage and modern day research – and drawing in experts in ecology, marine biology, agronomy, hospitality and nutrition - the project delivers activities exploring regenerative seafood production that benefits local seawaters.

ATLAS Arts offers CLIMAVORE residencies as part of a programme of artist residencies and fellowships.

For me as an arts organisation to see a project continue for five years is great. We see it as having a long term benefit environmentally, creatively, economically – it’s created a legacy here.
Ainslie Roddick, artistic director, ATLAS Arts
recipe book created by CLIMAVORE students

Climavore and its impact in the community

Based at Bayfield, the Oyster Table and a programme called On Tidal Zones was CLIMAVORE's first project in Skye. Sometimes above and sometimes below the sea, it provides the perfect place to stimulate conversations about the history and heritage of food and the tidal zone.

Each day at high tide, the installation works as an underwater multi-species home, inhabited by seaweeds which clean the seawater. At low tide, the unique structure emerges and functions as a dining table for humans.

Linking in with the local school, groups, restaurants, and visitors the project has held a wide range of events, discussions, even film screenings, exploring what alternatives there are to less sustainable forms of aquaculture.

A project with chefs from local restaurants led to learning and cooking sessions with local school pupils, and then just before the pandemic to an apprenticeship programme where the young people were paid living wage to work locally with CLIMAVORE ingredients. The resulting recipe book (pictured here) was published in 2020. 

Also interested in a circular economy model, CLIMAVORE is using raw oyster shell materials from different places across Skye to produce a specially made terrazzo tile. Now, the CLIMAVORE Community Interest Company is pursuing a range of projects on sea crofting, food production, poly cultural intertidal farms, and other forms of research on sustainable aquaculture.

WH College Students Climavore

Innovative building techniques

As well as considering our diet, the CLIMAVORE project is also supporting the next generation of builders to look at alternative materials which could be part of the construction industry of the future.

West Highland College UHI, in collaboration with CLIMAVORE, has introduced a a dedicated 'Regenerative Construction Materials' unit in their Level 5 course.

The students have taken part in workshops in Skye making roofing materials out of seaweed, floor tiles out of crushed shells and a concrete alternative from hemp to better understand how these materials could be used as part of a circular construction economy locally. 

The Course Leader Claire Thomson said: "It's exciting to introduce the concept of sustainable, regenerative and alternative materials at an early stage in the students’ construction careers.  The experience encourages them to embrace sustainable construction from the outset, and widens their horizons around the materials they will be comfortable to use, specify and construct as they develop along their career paths.”



Working with HIE

Pathfinder Accelerator

CLIMAVORE took part in our Pathfinder programme in summer 2020. It helped them work through their plans to establish the UK’s first intertidal polyculture farm on the Isle of Skye by 2025, and creating an open source, cooperative model for sustainable seafood production.

Find out more about Pathfinder



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