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Future Food, Food Future


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By the year 2050, the world’s population is projected to swell to 9 billion. 80% of us will be urban-dwellers. Demand from developing countries for a wider range of foods is on the rise. Experts estimate that we will need new farmland larger than the size of Brazil to produce enough to meet the demands of growing populations.

Food security therefore represents one of the single biggest challenges of our future, with environmental, economic, political, and lifestyle implications.

How will we fix our broken and unsustainable systems of industrial food production to serve the needs of an ever-growing planet? In what ways will we rethink food via new practices and new technologies? This latest report from the Institute for Customer Experience considers how we are re-imagining our food practices in order to project anew our collective, global future.

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Future Food, Food Future

  1. 1. 1@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Future Food, Food Future A report by Deepa S Reddy
  2. 2. 2@2013, ICE, All rights reserved It is a widely accepted fact that our present industrialized food systems are irretrievably broken and in urgent need of repair. Our production processes are highly resource-intensive; they leave enormous environmental footprints, are increasingly volatile, and unequal to the task of feeding a growing world population. Our consumption, too, is growing voraciously; it is often whimsical, wasteful, and in the end unsustainable. By the year 2050, the world’s population is projected to swell to 9 billion. 80% will be urban-dwellers. Demand from developing countries for a wider range of foods is on the rise. Experts estimate that we will therefore need new farmland larger than the size of Brazil to produce enough to meet the demands of growing populations. Food security therefore represents one of the single biggest challenges of our future, with environmental, economic, political, and lifestyle implications. The future of food might be that we just won’t have enough. The Big Problem of Food
  3. 3. 3@2013, ICE, All rights reserved What this report covers ONE: How did we get here? A quick overview of food trends from World War II to the present TWO: Trending to the Future Key trends and global realities THREE: Future Foods 1. Eating Down the Chain 2. Nose-to-Tail Food 3. Engineered Edibles 4. Farm Fresh 2.0 5. Open Source Food 6. Food You Know 7. Simulated Food FOUR: Re-telling the Story of Food
  4. 4. 4@2013, ICE, All rights reserved ONE: How did we get here?
  5. 5. 5@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Mechanization, speed, and routinization became key measures of efficiency in “scientific” agricultural production. Fast food restaurants like McDonald’s incorporate assembly line systems in food manufacturing and preparation. The “industrial ideal” becomes the norm. 1940s- “Henry Ford’s production facilities … stood as a dramatic example of the efficacy of rational management techniques, which many felt should now be applied to farming. As an International Harvester promotion exhorted, ‘Every Farm a Factory.’” —Deborah Fitzgerald, Every Farm a Factory: The Industrial Ideal in American Agriculture, 2003 How did we get here?
  6. 6. 6@2013, ICE, All rights reserved The Green Revolution makes use of high-yielding cereal varieties, pesticides, and fertilizers to boost production. Its strategies help turn heavily populated, food-deficit countries into self-sufficient producers in just a few years, averting global food crises. The packaged foods boom begins. The food industry leverages new technologies to lower cost and advertising to demonstrate the added value of processed foods. Rachel Carson’s 1962 expose, Silent Spring, draws attention to the damaging effects of widespread DDT and other synthetic pesticide use on the environment. Carson’s work is widely credited with spurring a nascent environmental movement into existence. How did we get here? 1960s-
  7. 7. 7@2013, ICE, All rights reserved The “natural food” movement coalesces around small cooperatives and establishments which source local and seasonal ingredients. Because it deviates from mainstream production, however, the movement lacks professional credibility, and is associated with “be natural” hippie, counter-culture , and niche markets for some decades yet. Instant and frozen foods revolutionize home cookery. Health and disease prevention begins to appear on the consumer radar. Tracking consumer purchase behavior becomes commonplace, and the computer technology revolution begins. Experiments with novel tastes and ethnic foods expands. How did we get here? 1970s-
  8. 8. 8@2013, ICE, All rights reserved The fair trade movement seeks to engage producers directly in consumer operations. Food labelling draws attention to nutritional content and ethical provenance. A hierarchy of products appear. Supermarkets introduce luxury and premium ranges. Labels and packaging use high- quality seductive images. A series of international meetings address emerging problems: rising malnutrition, land degradation from over-cultivation, desertification, freshwater consumption by agriculture, and biodiversity conservation. The WHO recognizes obesity as a global epidemic. How did we get here? 1990s- 1992 Food Pyramid | Courtesy USDA
  9. 9. 9@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Marion Nestle’s Food Politics make clear connections between the methods of industrial food production, agricultural policy, food-borne illness, childhood obesity, and the decline of the family meal How did we get here? 2000s- …instead of paying workers well enough to allow them to buy things like cars, as Henry Ford proposed to do, companies like Wal-Mart and McDonald’s pay their workers so poorly that they can afford only the cheap, low-quality food these companies sell, creating a kind of nonvirtuous circle driving down both wages and the quality of food. The advent of fast food (and cheap food in general) has, in effect, subsidized the decline of family incomes in America. --Michael Pollan, “The food movement, rising,” 2010 Controversies over Monsanto’s heavy-handed leveraging of GMO technologies to create industry monopolies fomented public mistrust of agri-business, and focused intense public criticism on big ag-biotech companies claiming to address global production through GM crop. The GM debate, however, remains deadlocked as many continue to see GM foods as a solution to future food shortages.
  10. 10. 10@2013, ICE, All rights reserved “Processed foods were once the time-saving, awe-inducing markers of an upwardly mobile household. … Now, among the upper middle classes, they're a sure sign that someone does not have a firm grip on what the good life is.” --Alexis Madrigal, “'Camp Grounded,' 'Digital Detox,' and the Age of Techno- Anxiety” The Atlantic Magazine, July 9, 2013 LIFE Magazine, 10 Sep 1945
  11. 11. 11@2013, ICE, All rights reserved How did we get here? 2000s- Community-based co-ops and buyers clubs increasingly circumvent mainstream production and distribution networks, promoting green parenting, sustainable agriculture, fairly priced access to healthy food. Organic food markets grow; the locavore movement is born. Reduced- No- Low- foods conscious of fats and other ingredients complement the value of nutritional supplements and DIY Doctoring. Snacking and grazing are on the rise, along with packaged “healthy” snacks . Cheaper store brands gain popularity and become fancier in the wake of global recession. Gourmet options are available in fast food, casual dining, and quick-fix meal offerings.
  12. 12. 12@2013, ICE, All rights reserved “Imagine if we had a food system that actually produced wholesome food. Imagine if it produced that food in a way that restored the land. Imagine if we could eat every meal knowing these few simple things: What it is we’re eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what it really cost. If that was the reality, then every meal would have the potential to be a perfect meal. We would not need to go hunting for our connection to our food and the web of life that produces it. We would no longer need any reminding that we eat by the grace of nature, not industry, and that what we’re eating is never anything more or less than the body of the world. I don’t want to have to forage every meal. Most people don’t want to learn to garden or hunt. But we can change the way we make and get our food so that it becomes food again—something that feeds our bodies and our souls. Imagine it: Every meal would connect us to the joy of living and the wonder of nature. Every meal would be like saying grace.” -- Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006) A new imagination
  13. 13. 13@2013, ICE, All rights reserved TWO: Trending to the Future
  14. 14. 14@2013, ICE, All rights reserved 2010- The Ethic of Sustainability The industrial ideal is unravelling. No longer are we content just to consume, but seek to manage sourcing and monitor quality. The experience of food extends from farm or “grow your own” to table. From meat fingerprinting to GeoCertification, traceability is key. Food is an experience of community, an expression of ethics, and a path to individual, social, and environmental health. Food-related start-ups fit in a “sustainability” investment portfolio, alongside solar energy and electric cars, and investors are placing their bets on small tech start-ups to deliver the next big innovation—for new experiences and more sustainable solutions. Trending to the Future 1
  15. 15. 15@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Digital Experience We thrive on digital engagements with finding, sourcing, ordering, reviewing, and investigating our foods. Apps lead us to healthier choices, demystify labels, and keep things transparent. 57% of Pinterest customers interact with food-related content; 21% say they have made subsequent purchases [PriceGrabber survey]. We enjoy food online almost more than on our plates: research suggests that excessive posting and viewing of food images on social media sites like Instagram can decrease our enjoyment of actual foods while eating. Food is a full-fledged digital experience. 2010- Trending to the Future 2
  16. 16. 16@2013, ICE, All rights reserved 2010- The Renewal of Convenience Dining well on a shoestring no longer means having a ciabatta sandwich at Jack in the Box. And stopping for food at a gas station no longer means settling for a lousy experience. Mobile trucks and gas stations can serve up gourmet fare—quality matters, doesn’t have to cost a bomb, and great food can come from anywhere. Prefer to cook it yourself? Find all you need for a meal in a “one-stop” island at your grocer. Fast food commitments to consistency and convenience meet sustainability, responsibility, and locally sourced ingredients—in newly styled (often eco-conscious) retail spaces. Trending to the Future 3
  17. 17. 17@2013, ICE, All rights reserved 2010- Work Around Convention The ascendance of artisan, indie, and small-batch foods is accompanied by direct-to- consumer subscription-based distribution services which bypass conventional retailers. Local gyms and other community gathering spots become distribution centers. E-commerce expands via online farm-to-table grocers like Greenling, Good Eggs and Farmigo, Door to Door Organics, Fresh Direct and Mile High Organics. Food Hub redefines supply for large buyers like schools and hospitals. Online /Mobile ordering takes away from conventional dining-out—literally. Larger grocers, too, like Tesco in the UK run “click and collect” stores to complement the conventional retail approach. Trending to the Future 4
  18. 18. 18@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Trending to the Future 2010- Healthful Functionality “In 2013, 58% of consumers thought a lot about the healthfulness of their foods/beverages, 47% thought a lot about food ingredients, and 40% frequently turned their thoughts to food safety” –2013 Food and Health Survey. International Food Information Council Foundation, Washington, D.C. Thinking about food in terms of constituent ingredients, nutritional value, dietary supplements, fortifications, and allergic or medicinal effects leads to a continual search for health- delivering high-impact super foods (and rejection of ingredients, like sugar). Snack foods and beverages packing functional punch address all modern ailments from heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension, to performance, pregnancy, and weightloss. 10 Superfoods infographic source: 5
  19. 19. 19@2013, ICE, All rights reserved But it’s not all a straight line… The industrial ideal is in shambles but the GMO debate is deadlocked. Grow-It-Yourself (GIY) and Back-to-Basics digital detox movements are stronger than ever but so is our faith in technology to deliver innovative solutions. Organics, fair-trade, and farm-direct foods are more common than ever before, but convenience and speed still drive consumer lifestyles. We are seized of the urgency of disrupting conventional foodways but are we doing enough to counter the impact of climate change?
  20. 20. 20@2013, ICE, All rights reserved “The rate of increase in crop yields is slowing – especially in wheat – raising doubts as to whether food production will keep up with the demand of a growing population. Changes in temperature and rainfall patterns could lead to food price rises of between 3% and 84% by 2050.” Source: Guardian, March 31 2014 World Bank Food Infographic 2014, Although the total number of under- nourished has fallen by 17 percent since 1990–92, 842 million or one in eight people in the world were estimated to be suffering from chronic hunger in 2011–13. Source: UN FAO, The state of food insecurity in the world 2013 WASTEYIELD & COST HUNGER Global realities
  21. 21. 21@2013, ICE, All rights reserved VOLATILITY & SOCIAL UNREST Food prices have increased and become more volatile since 2006. UN FAO’s Price Index correlates with “food riots” and other conflict. Death toll is shown in parentheses. Graph: New England Complex Systems Institute Global realities
  22. 22. 22@2013, ICE, All rights reserved “The purely physical effects of climate change will, no doubt, prove catastrophic. But the social effects including, somewhere down the line, food riots, mass starvation, state collapse, mass migrations, and conflicts of every sort, up to and including full-scale war, could prove even more disruptive and deadly.” —Michael T. Klare, “The Hunger Wars in Our Future,” Huffington Post, August 7, 2012 Global realities Image Source:
  23. 23. 23@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Will food engineering deliver--again? We once imagined the solution to increased demand from population growth in synthetic foods. This futurist comic was published on November 14, 1965. By Athelstan Spilhaus (illustrated by Gene Fawcett). Perhaps a little tongue-in-cheek—but prescient. Source:
  24. 24. 24@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Will “sustainability” be enough? “Farm-to-table may sound right—it’s direct and connected—but really the farmer ends up servicing the table, not the other way around. It makes good agriculture difficult to sustain.” “Our belief that we can create a sustainable diet for ourselves by cherry-picking great ingredients is wrong. Because it’s too narrow- minded. We can’t think about changing parts of our system. We need to think about redesigning the system.” The Third Plate “combines tastes not based on convention, but because they fit together to support the environment that produced them.” Penguin, 2014
  26. 26. 26@2013, ICE, All rights reserved THREE: Future Foods
  27. 27. 27@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Problem: We will face dire resource shortages. Solution: Tap ignored, abundant resources. Change “food” completely. Jellyfish Dish: Oceans cover 70% of our earth’s surface, but produce only a small percentage of our food. Jellyfish are taking over warming waters and wreaking havoc. Why not borrow from far eastern cuisines and try them? Insect Protein Boost: Already a recognized source of protein for several indigenous cultures, insects are on the list of potential new sources of human food and animal feed. While it takes 22 pounds of feed to get about 2 lbs of beef, it only takes 3.75 pounds of feed to produce a 2 lbs of cricket. Insect farming emits 1% of the greenhouse gases produced in rearing sheep or cattle, and requires far less water. Champions overcome “ick” factors by promoting insects as animal feed, and incorporating insect-based flours to give regular foods a nutritional boost. Example: Bitty Foods in San Francisco. Source: Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security, UN FAO 2013 Image: coming-jellyfish-apocalypse/373706/ Future Food 1: Eating Down the Chain
  28. 28. 28@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Spotlight: ALGAE At the base of the food chain are photosynthetic water-dwelling plant-like organisms that already produce over half of the earth’s oxygen. The use of algae in producing alternative fuels, CO2 sequestering, wastewater treatment, and manufacturing bioplastics and eco- friendly fabrics and dyes is well-known. Algal speed of growth means that “one acre of algae can produce the same amount of protein in a year as 21 acres of soybeans or 49 acres of corn.” (Alltech) Certain algae are farmed to produce food ingredients like Omega-3 fatty acids and natural food colorants and dyes. Biomass discarded after “de-oiling” becomes valuable biofertilizer. Image source: #sustainable #newproteins #nowaste Future Food 1: Eating Down the Chain
  29. 29. 29@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Spotlight: ALGAE Designers Michiko Nitta and Michael Burton envision a future where your clothes supply nourishment via the Algaculture Symbiosis Suit. “Algaculture designs a new symbiotic relationship between humans and algae. It proposes a future where humans will be enhanced with algae living inside new bodily organs, allowing us to be semi-photosynthetic. Almost enabling us to become plant-like by gaining food from light. As such, we will be symbionts (meaning that both entities entirely depend on each other for survival), entering into a mutually beneficial relationship with the algae. Why design new food on what we have now, when we could re-design how we fuel the body altogether?” Source: #futureclothing #transhumanism #biofuel #biomimicry #sustainable Future Food 1: Eating Down the Chain
  30. 30. 30@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Future Food 1: Eating Down the Chain Spotlight: ALGAE Urban Algae Canopy: A prototype for building integrated farming and urban architecture from London-based ecoLogicStudio. “It is now time to overcome the segregation between technology and nature typical of the mechanical age, to embrace a systemic understanding of architecture” concludes Claudia Pasquero of ecoLogicStudio. “Once completed as part of EXPO2015 Future food District the Urban Algae Canopy will produce the oxygen equivalent of 4 hectares of woodland and up to 150kg of biomass per day, 60% of which are natural vegetal proteins.” Source: #futurehousing #futurecities #urbanfarming #newproteins
  31. 31. 31@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Problem: There is terrific waste in the food system—from spoilage to packaging discarded. Solution: rethink how we use, package, distribute, and store our resources. Offal not Awful: As with insects, there’s nothing new about offal consumption in many parts of the world, but modern farming and consumer preferences have made offal cookery both difficult and taboo. As a response to the high-carbon-footprint of animal farming and the waste of butchery, chefs and authors are finding ways to take advantage of every last scrap of the animal. “[In 15 years,] meat will be an occasional food, served in small portions (a good idea that’s already been explored), and it will include eating offal—the nourishing foods we've cast aside for so long,” says Chef and cookbook author Deborah Madison. Image source: Eve Turow on #nofoodwaste #eatthewaste #nosetotail #sustainable Future Food 2: Nose-to-Tail Food
  32. 32. 32@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Future Food 2: Nose-to-Tail Food Waste Economies #nofoodwaste #eatthewaste #nosetotail #sustainable #socialenterprise Waste Renewal: The Social Enterprise model tackles waste by sourcing surplus foods and turning them into marketable food products. To find surplus foods going waste, there’s PareUp— an app to connect hungry eaters with excess restaurant and grocery store food at discounted prices. Foodsharing: Still a fringe practice, food-sharing is an extension of sharing economy practices yet to take off. Apps like Leftoverswap (connecting people with leftovers and people looking for free meals) and non-profits like facilitate networking between individual with and without food surpluses. Cropmobster facilitates community redistribution and London-based Eatro seeks to connects home cooks with other meal-seekers.
  33. 33. 33@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Future Food 2: Nose-to-Tail Food Better biodegradables #nomoreplastic #newconvenience #sustainable #socialenterprise “This too shall pass” is Swedish design studio Tomorrow Machine’s line of biodegradable packaging with the same life-span as the foods it contains. Manufactured from seaweed (for smoothies), beeswax (for rice), and caramelized sugar and wax (for oil). Treeson’s water bottles are made from 100% toxin- free plant-based materials, biodegradable and easily flattened for free return via US Post. Each bottle is recycled to produce clean energy with a machine that converts the material into biogas. For every bottle sold, the brand plants one tree; a mobile app allows consumers to track where their tree has been planted.
  34. 34. 34@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Future Food 2: Nose-to-Tail Food Back to Biomimicry Inspired by how egg yolks retain shape in a thin membrane and the formation of water droplets, a team of London-based industrial design students--Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, Pierre Paslier, Guillaume Couche— developed Ooho, an edible, blob-like water container you can make at home. A single unit of Ooho is created using “spherification”: a 1940s technique using brown algae and calcium chloride to create a gelatinous double membrane made popular by the Spanish molecular gastronomy restaurant elBulli. Ooho is a recipient of the 2014 Lexus Design Award. #DIY #biomimicry #nomoreplastic #socialenterprise Wikicell packaging asks that you think of all packaged foods as though they are fruit. The skin is not just edible, it’s nutritious. And all you have to do is wash your ice cream before you eat it.
  35. 35. 35@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Problem: “Volatility” is the new normal. Solution: Science and Technology still hold big promise in coping with uncertain futures. GMO Food: Although opposition to GMOs continue to be strong, many believe that genetic modification technologies represent the only viable and fast alternative to creating adaptable crops for unpredictable climates. Most GMOs have been developed to increase yield, resist disease, or tolerate herbicide. In the future, says the WHO, “genetic modification could be aimed at altering the nutrient content of food, reducing its allergenic potential, or improving the efficiency of food production systems ... FAO/WHO Codex guidelines exist for risk analysis of GM food.” Image: Purple tomatoes packed with anthocyanins have anti- inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects, as well as double the shelf life of regular tomatoes. Source: WHO-- #GMO #biotech #superfood #customized #proprietaryfood Future Food 3: Engineered Edibles
  36. 36. 36@2013, ICE, All rights reserved 3D Printing #DIY #personalized #spacefood #digitalgastronomy 3D-printed foods powerfully capture our imaginations of a space-age, automated, predictable, personalized form of food. In theory, 3D printing food does away with the farm and produces an endless supply of food in just the form we please to end world hunger. In practice, however, 3D-printed foods may be most readily suited to additive food assemblages like pizza, as engineer Anjan Contractor’s open-source RepRap Mendel 3D printer showed in early 2014. Other applications include: ChefJetPro’s art candy sculptures, and the German company Biozoon’s “smoothfood” molecular gastronomy adaptation for the elderly and infirm. Current trends are to use 3D printers to create recognizable foods, but experts say we need to re-imagine food altogether. Will 3D technology allow us to do so? Image: FOODINI printing pizza. Source: Future Food 3: Engineered Edibles
  37. 37. 37@2013, ICE, All rights reserved 3D Printing at Home #DIY #personalized #futurecooking #digitalgastronomy Taking inspiration from molecular gastronomy (which highlights the chemical reactions of cooking to create new sensory experiences), Amit Zohan and Marcelo Coelho propose “digital gastronomy.” Via the kitchen machine Cornucopia, they exhort us to visualize all the ways we can manipulate food digitally and participate ourselves in its fabrication. Cooking becomes a physical and chemical process of “shaping edible matter into practical design formats.” The goal is to “retain the freshness of ingredients, increase the potential for personal creative expression and develop a new and tighter connection between food production and our digital lives.” Image: Amit Zoran and Marcelo Coelho. “Cornucopia: The Concept of Digital Gastronomy.” in Leonardo: Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology. Volume 44, Number 5, October 2011, pp. 425-431 Future Food 3: Engineered Edibles
  38. 38. 38@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Future Food 3: Engineered Edibles Meat Without Footprints #synthetic #labfab #crueltyfree #3Dprinting #postcarnivore Concerned about what modern meat production does to the planet and to the animals? The solution may be easier than going vegetarian—tissue engineering. In 2013, Prof. Mark Post of Maastricht University, produced the world's first lab-grown burger culturing stem cells from a cow. New York-based Modern Meadow is developing in vitro meat using a 3-D printer with a cartridge of bio-ink made of live cells that can be printed into a pre-set shape to fuse into living tissue. At least one study confirms that the environmental impact of cultured meat is far lower than the conventionally produced equivalent. Production costs, however, are prohibitively high. Tuomisto Environ. Sci. Technol., 2011, 45 (14), pp 6117–6123 Image: David Parry / PA Wire
  39. 39. 39@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Problem: Conventional farming is inefficient. We’re running out of arable land. Farms are too far away from where we live. Solution: Rethink farming technologies. Bring farms closer to home. Hydroponic Farms: PodPonics grows lettuces on an 11-acre facility near Atlanta without pesticides, using recycled water, proprietary lighting, and nutrient technology—and still produce more food per acre than the traditional farm. By growing locally at or near the point of consumption, they eliminate oil dependence. Companies like BrightFarms step in to help connect local grocers with local farmers, bypassing distributors. Film Farms use SkyGel--a super absorbent hydrophilic booster which acts as a reservoir holding water up to 1,000 times its weight. Originally a technology developed for medical applications and diapers, film farming is being commercialized by Dubai- based Agricel. It could transform desert landscapes into growing regions. #futureofwater #futurefarming #oilfree #indoorfarms Image Source: Future Food 4: Farm Fresh 2.0
  40. 40. 40@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Smart Farms The Internet of Things (IoT) finds its way into “precision agriculture” by way of AgSmarts ground sensors, which monitor soil moisture and irrigation. OnFarm integrates disparate devices in the field into one software product—making an IoT platform into the “operating system for the farm.” Research shows that using only one type of precision technology can increase yield by 16% and cut down water use by 50%.* Japanese IT company Fujitsu is growing lettuces in a Fukushima facility once used to manufacture phone chips. Fujitsu’s own data analytics platform “Akisai” measures temperature, humidity, fertilization levels, and other data from sensors, and can tell the producers how the plants are growing and when they should be harvested. The lab is developing a low-potassium lettuce for patients with chronic kidney disease. #bigdatafarming #superfood #indoorfarms #smart #socialenterprise *Source: Image source: Future Food 4: Farm Fresh 2.0
  41. 41. 41@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Pink Farms Dickson Despommier's Vertical Farming ideas take shape as innovators around the world find solutions to the problem of light and energy consumption required for efficient indoor growing. Green Sense Farms in Indiana and Kyoto-based Nuvege use blue and red Phillips LEDs. Since LEDs emit less heat, plants can be placed closer to the light source, and more grown in the same space. Light innovations allow old buildings, abandoned subterranean tunnels and other dark spaces to be reclaimed for vertical farming. Using combinations of Hydroponics (no-soil growing), Areoponics (food growth using air and mist), and Aquaponics (aquatic and food symbiotic growth), and cultivating dwarf-varieties developed for NASA, farms can radically transform urban environments. #futureoflighting #labgrown #indoorfarms #verticalfarms #sustainable #spacefood Image source: Future Food 4: Farm Fresh 2.0
  42. 42. 42@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Sky Farms #futurecities #verticalfarms #urbanagriculture #sustainable #farmtotable “Urban Agriculture is a concept that restores our common knowledge of a cyclic system of life and its necessities. We cannot distance ourselves from the resources we need or the waste we produce.” – Plantagon (Sweeden) Image Source: Fast Co July 2, 2014: Source: Future Food 4: Farm Fresh 2.0
  43. 43. 43@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Future Food 4: Farm Fresh 2.0 Spotlight: The Plant #indoorfarms #urbanrenewal #urbanagriculture #farmtotable #sustainable Chicago’s “The Plant” repurposes an abandoned meatpacking factory into a self- sufficient no-waste urban food-growing ecosystem. Waste from the city is close—a valuable fuel—as is labor and demand. Distance from farm to table shrinks. Image :
  44. 44. 44@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Problem: Access to information is blocked by complex procedure and private interest. Solution: Community-reinforcing, privacy respecting open source commitments. Open Source GMO: “GMO agriculture relies on the relatively new science of bioinformatics, which means that DNA sequences look a lot more like software code than a vegetable garden. And if Monsanto is the Microsoft of food supply… perhaps the time has come for the agricultural equi- valent of Linux, the open-source operating system that made computer programming a communal effort... Like open-source software, open-source food genetics would advance biological research … universities would soon become hothouses of innovation. Intellectual production without intellectual property would thrive, as scientists gained access to DNA code in all its infinite variety, along with the freedom to create derivative work and redistribute findings.” --Frederick Kaufman, “Let’s Make Genetically Modified Food Open- Source,” Slate (July 2013) #noGMO #biotech #hackGMO Future Food 5: Open Source Food
  45. 45. 45@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Linux for Lettuce Three big-ag companies--Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta--control half the world’s seed sales, many of which carry patent protections. Organic seed banks (eg. Navdanya in India) have long sought to collect and share seeds to circumvent corporate and proprietary control. In April 2014, the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI), a coalition of farmers, scientists and sustainable food advocates, launched the Open Source Seed Pledge- relinquishing legal licensing, and making uncompro- mising commitment to sharing and free exchange. Anyone opening a packet of OSSI’s seeds commits to keeping them, and any future plant derivatives bred using them, in the public domain. #diybio #opensource #IP #seedcommons #biodiversity Image: Bryce Richter, Future Food 5: Open Source Food
  46. 46. 46@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Future Food 5: Open Source Food The End of Food? #diybio #opensource #superfood #lifehack #QS #selfexperiment #sustainable #bulletproof At one edge of the Quantified Self (QS) movement, self-experiments like those that produced Soylent and Bulletproof® coffee promise to performance enhancement, energy and weightloss with nutrient-dense beverages. Soylent claims to be a complete food-replacement for the future. Basic recipes for both products are online, in the open-source spirit. offers tools for personalization and further self-experimentation, while Bulletproof®’s Dave Asprey accessorizes with ingredients, sleep induction mats, heart-rate variability sensors, and “Focus Brain Trainer” sensor headbands in in his “Upgraded Self” online shop.
  47. 47. 47@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Problem: Digital lifestyles disconnect us from nature and the sources of our food. Solution: Use the one to reach the other. Reunite with your inner farmer and grow your own hydroponic food. “Niwa is an automated, hydroponic system that controls climate variables and light cycles, automatically giving your plants the perfect environment to grow, and watering and feeding your plants when they need it. Because Niwa has the knowledge of a huge number of plants stored in her system, no green thumb or horticultural knowledge is needed. … via the smartphone app you can manage and monitor the experience from anywhere, anytime with a touch of your screen” #smart #indoorfarms #verticalfarms #growyourown growing-in-your-smartphone#axzz36UkZThmb Future Food 6: Food You Know
  48. 48. 48@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Monitor and Trace #surveillance #transparency #traceability #monitoring Drones may be the route to ensuring transpa- rency in a factory farming industry hidden behind “ag-gag” laws. Their use in monitoring Australian farms is being debated. A drone documentation project by independent journalist Will Potter, has been funded on Kickstarter. On the flip side, Syngenta Foundation’s FarmForce app launched in Kenya (June 2014) enables dispersed smallholder farmers to manage production in real time and demonstrate food safety compliance. The app helps small farmers to be competitive in producing for processors, agribusiness, and retailers across developing countries. Image source: Future Food 6: Food You Know
  49. 49. 49@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Future Food 6: Food You Know Point and Know #smart #digitalgastronomy #transparency #socialenterprise Source: Tellspec is a hand-held IR (infra-red) spectrometer scanner. With a custom algorithm and a companion app on your smartphone, the device determines the allergens, chemicals, nutrients, calories, and ingredients in your food. Spectrum data collected from food is sent to an ‘analysis engine’ in the cloud via your phone (through Bluetooth), and all the aforementioned nutritional info is then sent back to your phone. The device can be particularly helpful to those with food allergies or intolerances. It also helps ensure food transparency.
  50. 50. 50@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Problem: Supply cannot keep pace with population growth and demand. Solution: Simulated foods and experiences. “GhostFood explores eating in a future of and biodiversity loss brought on by climate change. The GhostFood mobile food trailer serves scent-food pairings that are consumed by the public using a wearable device that adapts human physiology to enable taste experiences of unavailable foods. Inspired by insect physiology (insects use their antennae to smell and thus navigate their world) and long-standing human traditions of technological extension of the senses, the device inserts direct olfactory stimulation into the eating experience. Scents of foods threatened by climate change are paired with foods made from climate change-resilient foodstuffs, to provide the taste illusions of foods that may soon no longer be available.” By Artists Miriam Simun an Mirium Songster. Souce: #biodiversity #biomimicry #sensoryexperience Future Food 7: Simulated Food
  51. 51. 51@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Future Food 7: Simulated Food Beyond Vegan Faux meats and substitutes like “Tofurkey” are nothing new, but companies are getting better at aligning soy and other proteins to mimic meaty textures and tastes. Beyond Meat’s "chicken" strips and taco "beef" crumble hit the US market in 2013, claiming to produce faux chicken enough to save 1.5 million actual birds per year. Beyond Eggs is Hampton Creek’s egg substitute. Cheaper than real eggs, it’s claimed to have longer shelf-life and lower cholesterol. Image sources: & #postcarnivore #veganmeat #synthetic #crueltyfree #labfab #sustainable
  52. 52. 52@2013, ICE, All rights reserved FOUR: Re-telling the Story of Food
  53. 53. 53@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Will any of it work? The efficacy of any intervention depends on cost, the permeation of technologies and the uptake of new food ideas. Here are some common, obvious objections: • 3D printing is constrained to industrial uses. 3 of 4 Americans say they wouldn’t eat it anyway—at least some because it’s processed food. • Similarly for IR (infra-red) spectrometers. Experts say that Tellspec just cannot do what it promises well enough at its present cost. • Will the high costs of lighting vertical gardens or building them into our cities remain prohibitive? Will even those be able to grow enough to feed us? • Faux meats and egg-substitutes may continue to cater to niche markets of activist eaters. • Open Source seeds will become ready raw material for new proprietary foods, the Open Source Seed Pledge notwithstanding. When will we be really ready to rethink “food”?
  54. 54. 54@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Retelling the Story of Food The movements that have brought us to our present level of awareness and activism are still in force and likely to continue to shape our future: local, organics, grow your own, community co-ops, animal rights /anti-cruelty, no GMO. “Sustainability” still tops the agenda in imagining our future foods. But conventional sustainability approaches have reached a saturation point, and the “third plate” approach to rotational eating is not yet rooted. In the meantime, Silicon Valley has stepped in to take on the challenge of shaping our food futures. The result: 1. #hackfood: The pragmatics and economic drive of social entrepreneurism supplant the idealism of organics. Data analytics, smart technologies, cloud computing, and the hacker mindset are in. 2. #reconnectivity: Fixing the food chain means redesigning it from scratch—and re- writing the conventional story of food. Whether reconnecting consumers with their ingredients or ranchers with local buyers in next-gen online meat markets, sensors, smart technologies and a host of new apps are re-connecting people and bypassing old institutions in new and unexpected ways.
  55. 55. 55@2013, ICE, All rights reserved Story re-telling DIYBio LifeHacksHealth Wellness Mobility, Convenience Re-connectivity Digital Gastronomy Sustainability Trust, Traceability PersonalizationAccess Simulation Fabrication Social Enterprise How will you re-tell the story of food?
  56. 56. 56@2013, ICE, All rights reserved TAG CLOUD
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