This Belgian-Zimbabwean concept uses mushrooms as a bridge when crossbreeding chicken and camelids

What do you get when you combine a mushroom, chicken and a camel? We talk to Koen Vanmechelen and Chido Govera about their planetary community chicken project.

Multi-disciplinary artist Koen Vanmechelen is a fascinating contemporary artist based in Belgium. He is known for interbreeding national diversities of the domesticated bird for his Cosmopolitan Chicken Project (CCP). In this CC project Koen creates a crossbreed of all ethnicities of chicken in different parts of the world containing all the planets chicken breeds’ genetic makeup. Vanmechelen, in collaboration with Chido Govera - a successful farmer, campaigner and educator - came up with the Planetary Community Chicken project.

The Planetary Community Chicken project started in Detroit, in the United States and Zimbabwe is one of the areas where a PCC (Planetary Community Chicken) pilot project was developed. The PCC project is native chickens from selected communities, and in this case Zimbabwe, paired for crossbreeding with Koen’s Cosmopolitan Chickens to produce a vital commercial chicken that can provide its host community with eggs and meat.

The PCC venture means to re-establish biodiversity, giving a stage for education and research and in addition building associations across the world for new ideas.

When the Planetary Community Chicken is introduced, Koen makes an art exhibition the venue for the crossbreeding to encourage public discussion of diversity and identity. The new crossbred chicks hatch in galleries and museums.

“It becomes the biggest DNA bank in crossbreeding as the cosmopolitan chicken turns into the planetary community chicken. It goes a step higher and gives its genes back to local farmers,” explains Vanmechelen on the crossbreeding of chickens.

Watch Koen and Chido’s full speaker talk here.

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Watch the Talk with Chido Govera, Koen Vanmechelen