IHME Helsinki 2024

Photo by Cooking Sections.

Maaleipä Challenge

“Maa” in Finnish = soil, dirt, earth, surface of Earth, ground, country, land
“Leipä” in Finnish = bread

Cooking Sections’ IHME Helsinki Commission 2024 promotes the collective well-being of soil, water bodies, and people with a nationwide challenge that is open to all – bakers, home cooks, bakeries, grassroots organisations, and restaurants – to develop bread recipes for the future, recipes that enhance links between soil nourishment, ecology, and gut health.

The Maaleipä Challenge will have its own website, launched in April 2024. There, participants will find instructions for participation and information on ingredients that contribute to both soil and human health, and which should be incorporated into the bread recipes. The Maaleipä Challenge will culminate in an event on Saturday, 21 September 2024, where winners will be selected from the pool of finalists. This event will combine creativity, joy, and the crowning glory of our bread culture – mark the date on your calendar now!

Cooking Sections challenges you to create new recipes for CLIMAVORE bread that can be used in large kitchens, homes, restaurants, and bakeries. The challenge is being run in cooperation with farmers and growers’ networks, promoting the cultural heritage of seeds, grain diversity, agroecology, and climate-resilient varieties that require fewer chemicals.

Grain cultivation has a long history in Finland. However, the demand for crops to be used in animal feed has now reduced the amount of land available for the primary ingredients of human plant-based diets, while intensifying the monoculture farming of oats, barley, wheat, and rye. As a consequence, agrochemicals seeping into the ground, and eventually into the Baltic Sea, are exhausting soil and water systems both inland and offshore.

We hope that the breads will be of many kinds and shapes and reflect the diversity of Finland’s population and baking techniques. The challenge aims to raise awareness of the importance of plants in human nutrition for tackling the climate emergency. It supports forms of land use that promote flourishing soil cultures, and which are currently neglected or overlooked by regulatory and subsidy frameworks.

In collaboration with farmers, seed keepers, bakers, and scientists we will be developing the rules of the bread challenge, and promoting the use of multiple grains, plant-based protein sources, and endangered cultivars. The Finland-wide challenge invites bread recipes from different regions and will culminate in a celebration of them in autumn 2024. More information on the rules and schedule of the challenge will be published during the autumn and winter 2023-2024.

Why Cooking Sections?

IHME Helsinki promotes critical art and the sustainability transformation, and that’s why we invite artists who think without bias about what art and art-making can be in a time of polycrises. Cooking Sections carry out projects whose goal is not only a change in thinking and action, but also a change in the system. The core of their modus operandi is gathering the latest scientific knowledge by meeting researchers and experienced experts. Despite their premises based on researched knowledge, the artworks themselves are approachable, narrative and experiential, and anyone can join in. It is great to be able to cooperate with Cooking Sections and to invite the public living in Finland to join in IHME Helsinki Commission 2024, which involves thinking about and baking the bread of the future,

says IHME Helsinki Executive Director and curator Paula Toppila enthusiastically.

IHME Helsinki’s operations are developed and the selection of artists made by its Advisory Board under the leadership of Paula Toppila. The Advisory Board includes: Ute Meta Bauer, Professor at Nanyang Technological University Singapore; Hanna Guttorm, Senior Researcher of indigenous studies at the University of Helsinki; Antti Majava, artist and researcher at BIOS Research Center; and Jussi Parikka, Professor at Aarhus University.


Cooking Sections about the IHME Helsinki Commission 2024

Watch the video on YouTube

Cooking Sections

The artist duo Cooking Sections – Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe – examine the systems that organise the world through food. They use site-responsive installation, performance and video, to explore the overlapping boundaries between art, architecture, ecology and geopolitics.

Established in London in 2013, they use food as a lens and tool to observe landscapes in transformation. They have worked on multiple iterations of the long-term CLIMAVORE project, for which they were nominated for the Turner Prize in 2021.

Cooking Sections artist duo, two men standing outside
Cooking Sections: Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe. Photo: Nour Annan.


CLIMAVORE is a research platform, an agency and a movement that asks how to eat as humans change climates. New human-made “seasons” are blurring the lines between spring, summer, autumn and winter, and annual monsoons. Instead, periods of polluted seas, soil exhaustion or fertiliser runoff have more influence on foodscapes. CLIMAVORE – a term coined by Cooking Sections in 2015 – is a call to rethink a truly broken food system, and to move beyond a carnivore, omnivore, locavore, vegetarian or vegan diet to tackle these new seasons, while addressing the intensive, extractive practices that lead to them.

CLIMAVORE collaborates long-term with marine biologists, botanists, farmers, chefs, fisherfolk, anthropologists, geneticists, environmentalists, oenologists, chemists, soil scientists, conservationists, herders, and many others living on the frontiers of the climate emergency. With bases in London, Skye, Palermo, Istanbul and Madrid, CLIMAVORE facilitates the space and the actions necessary for transforming food production, distribution and consumption, in order to reimagine new horizons where food can be grown while cultivating habitats.

In their previous CLIMAVORE projects, Cooking Sections have studied, for instance, the farming and colour of salmon, the role of seaweeds and bivalves in the marine ecosystem and human diet, and the creation of microclimates in dry areas. As a result of CLIMAVORE projects, museum restaurants around the United Kingdom have switched to serving CLIMAVORE dishes, removing farmed salmon from their menus and replacing it with ingredients that improve soil and water quality, while cultivating marine habitats.

cooking-sections.com (linkki avautuu uuteen välilehteen) climavore.org (linkki avautuu uuteen välilehteen)

Thank you the experts and partners of Maaleipä Challenge!

Farmer Markus Eerola, The Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners
Project Leader Joshua Finch, Novia University of Applied Sciences
Farmer Rauno Haapala, North Ostrobothnia Organic Association
Researcher Emma Hakala, University of Helsinki
Landscape Architect Johanna Himberg, City of Helsinki
Senior Scientist Antti Iho, Natural Resources Institute Finland
Professor of Agroecology Juha Helenius, University of Helsinki
Business Director Anne Immonen, Ylva
Researcher and farmer Juuso Joona
Research Professor Minna Kaljonen, Finnish Environment Institute, SYKE
Postdoctoral researcher Galina Kallio, Ruralia Institute, University of Helsinki
Agronomist Jussi Knaapi, Freelance Journalist
Researcher, limnologist Seppo Knuuttila, Finnish Environment Institute, SYKE
Postdoctoral researcher Kari Koppelmäki, Ruralia Institute, University of Helsinki
Bread culture entrepreneur Eliisa Kuusela, Leipäpaja
Farmer Jukka Lassila, Lassilan farm
Erkki Lehtimäki, Maatiainen ry
Head of Urban Space and Landscape Planning Jussi Luomanen, City of Helsinki
Researcher Ville Lähde, BIOS Research
Associate Professor Ndegwa Maina, Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Helsinki
Researcher, artist Antti Majava, Mustarinda-seura r.y.
Maija Manninen, Maatiainen ry
Senior Lecturer Annika Michelson, Häme University of Applied Sciences
Professor Johanna Mäkelä, Department of Education, University of Helsinki
Conservation Officer Elisa Niemi, WWF
Farmer Marja Oesch, Hausjärvi
Vice Dean Janna Pietikäinen, Department of Forest Sciences, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Sciences, University of Helsinki
Chair Olli Repo, Kaupunkilaisen oma pelto co-operative
Research Professor Marketta Rinne, Natural Resources Institute Finland
Chief Specialist Anna Salminen, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Vice Dean, Professor Mari Sandell, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki
Researcher, farmer Magnus Selenius, Nyby Gård
Student Karoliina Tallbacka, Viikki Food Design Factory, University of Helsinki
Senior Specialist Auli Väänänen, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Ruby Van Der Wekken, Oma Maa Co-operative
Assistant Rosa Whiteley, Cooking Sections

IHME Helsinki Commission 2024 in Media

IHME Helsingin seuraava teos esittää haasteen leivän ystäville (only in Finnish)

“IHME Helsinki’s next commission presents a challenge to bread lovers”

Aino Frilander, Helsingin Sanomat, 17.8.2023

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We combine art, science, and climate work