Artist Miriam Simun surprised and intrigued New Yorkers recently as she offered up a tasting of human breastmilk cheese at The Lady Cheese Shop in NYC’s East Village. Inhabitots was on the scene and we were surprised to see a packed house of New Yorkers who came out to try the breast-milk cheese, which Miriam produced as an art experiment to get people thinking about the ‘naturalness’ of human milk and where their food comes from.

Simun said ‘If you’re really going to try to eat organic, natural and local, there is nothing more local or natural than human cheese. New York has 8 million people and not one cow, so the mammals in your midst are human’.

If you’re really going to try to eat organic, natural and local, there is nothing more local or natural than human cheese.

I once heard a new mother say, “if you think growing a person inside you is strange, wait until you start producing milk.” We don’t often think about women as breast milk producers, but we are all really producers in the end. Artist Miriam Simun decided to see what that meant as a commodity and opened her experimental, human breast milk purveying, Lady Cheese Shop at the Michael Mutt Gallery in the East Village, New York. Though it was just an art exhibit and not an actual store, the breast milk and breast milk cheese that was on display to eat and observe surely brought up some interesting thoughts about the local food movement. Watch our exclusive video above for more.

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“Humans already produce milk and you can turn it into cheese. I decided to try it and then with the Lady Cheese Shop I invite people to use their imagination for a few minutes and imagine what this means as a real commodity,” artist Miriam Simun said about her experiment. Visitors to the gallery entered, alternately confused and excited, to try this exotic commodity.

Though, is it really all that exotic? As Simun noted, “as a New Yorker, eight million people not one cow. If you really want to be local, the mammals in your midst are humans.” We were on hand at the shop to ask people their thoughts on the cheese — we queried them on how it tasted and whether they enjoyed it — and what they thought about the idea of bringing it to market. One mom on hand, Frances Anderson, who was nursing her little one in tow, noted, “so the idea your own body as a factory of production was what was appealing to me because that’s what it is when you are breastfeeding.” Some visitors thought this truly local commodity could be a huge hit but it turns out the monetary costs might make it impossible — after all, breast milk goes for about $2 an ounce, so that is some pricey cheese. Tune in to our video above to see how much human milk actually costs.

+ The Lady Cheese Shop

+ Michael Mutt Gallery