Indeed, the supermarket is our next savanna. Peculiar image of the week. Thanks Jeroen.
Indeed, the supermarket is our next savanna. Peculiar image of the week. Thanks Jeroen.
We’re used to seeing proposals for high-tech vertical farms that never seem to translate to real life, but the city of Linköping in Sweden has finally taken these buildings out of the realm of glossy CG models. Plantagon International is building a 17-story vertical greenhouse, slated to open by 2013, that will have a “transportation helix” to transfer vegetables and grains within its enormous spherical space. The greenhouse promises to parasitize on the excess heat, CO2 and waste produced by the city, using it for warmth and fertilizer. The design cuts transportation costs, and perhaps most impressively, promises the equivalent of 100,000 square meters of arable land on a 10,000 square meter footprint. Still no word on whether building a gigantic steel and glass structure is more carbon-efficient than conventional farming, but retrofitting existing office buildings might help take care of this problem.
Some years ago we studied the heritage of Coca Cola as a health drink and presented a fictional product called Organic Coke. Back in 2008 this was merely a speculative design, created to stir a discussion on the use of natural imagery to market products.
As many people liked the idea of Organic Coke it obtained a certain presence & visibility on the Internet. Apparently some people at the Coca Cola company are now considering to actually bring Organic Coke to the market. At least, if this internal ‘Situation Analysis Report’ is genuine.
Be Brave, Be Optimistic, Be Different, Be Young, Take care of your BODY, Drink Organic Coke. Admittedly that slogan still needs some work, yet it would certainly be to our delight to see the green cans appearing in the supermarket. Yes, I still want my Organic Coke!
Recently, while traveling in Africa, I spotted this all organic coco-drink dispenser. Opening the can was a bit more difficult than I was used to, but then again I didn’t need to insert a coin before collecting my refreshment! Isn’t it just great when you can rely on your environment to store your food? Peculiar image of the week.
Know garlic? Now imagine you could make something that functions alike, but smells a lot better. Body architect Lucy McRae teams up with Harvard Biologist Sheref Mansy to create a digestible scented capsule that works through your own perspiration.
Once absorbed, fragrance molecules are excreted through the skin’s surface. A unique odor is emanated, depending on each individual’s acclimatization to temperatures, to stress, exercise, or sexual arousal. Watch Lucy’s presentation at the Next Nature Power Show.
Transporting and displaying cold food is an incredibly wasteful and inefficient process. Current display refrigerators, like those that display meats or cheeses in supermarkets, create cold air that is quickly lost to the open environment. The volume that is cooled is inevitably greater than the volume. Alp, by Ethan Frier, is a transportation and refrigeration concept for the supermarket of 2021. It consists of standardized, reusable boxes in which food items are packed, shipped and displayed.
The boxes are constructed of highly thermally conductive nanomaterials. They cool food via contact with a refrigerated “wall” that is permanently installed in the supermarket for display purposes, or in the wheeled containers used for transport. This system replaces the cardboard boxes typically used to ship food, the refrigerated infrastructure used to transport cold food (refrigerated trucks, large industrial holding refrigerators) and replaces the refrigerated shelving systems used to display cold food for sale. Alp is completely modular and scalable, and can be configured to replace almost any type of refrigerator, from mini fridge to industrial size. Alp challenges us to critically think about how we refrigerate and transport our food.
For additional documentation, visit the project page.
Designer Christien Meindertsma, famed for her book ‘PIG 05049′ that provides an astonishing overview of all products made from pigs, was surprised by the unrealistic nostalgic visualizations of farms on children’s coloring pages. She decided to create a more realistic coloring page of the pig farm.
Download her alternative coloring page (48 mb, pdf) and keep your kids busy for the weekend.
While sunlight contains all colors, the dominant type of chlorophyll in plants only needs purple light to function. This simple fact has big implications for the future of farming. Crops planted in soil, of course, depend on the sun, while commercial greenhouses use white light to grow their crops. All that extra red, green and yellow energy is wasted on the plants.
PlantLab has taken advantage of chlorophyll’s little quirk. By using red and blue LEDs to create purple light, they have dramatically cut the energy needed to grow plants indoors. The special lights boost the efficiency of photosynthesis from 9% to between 12 and 15%. Growing plants in a closed system conserves heat, water, and nutrients, and cuts the need for pesticides. Since the crops no longer need access to sunlight, they can be grown in dense stacks. The future of vertical farming looks a lot like a nightclub for plants.
Watch the introductory video here.
Why turn to implants when the female body can do it by itself? Dutch designer Femke Mosch came up with the idea of making edible implants that stimulate breast growth from within.
Remarkable infographic by pcrm.org.
This promotional video for in-vitro meat was brought to you by the
bureau for in-vitro meat promotion students of the Beckmans College of Design.
As our scientific knowledge of nutritious food increases, will healthy foods be progressively designed to look like medicines? This blueberry blister packaging created by Chinese designer Daizi Zheng certainly points in that direction.
Although utterly over-designed and unsustainably over-packaged, this might well be a product patients suffering from the healthy eating disease Orthorexia Nervosa would crave for.
As we are moving towards 9 billion people living on our planet, it seems impossible to continue producing & consuming meat like we do today. Will we soon all be eating rice and beans? Perhaps. Yet professor Mark Post thinks otherwise.
At the Next Nature Power Show, Mark Post presented his plan to create the first lab-grown hamburger. He argues lab-grown meat could become the environmentally friendly alternative for breeding cows and pigs for meat consumption. It is relatively simple to take stem cells from an animal and grow them to produce new muscle tissue. Simply add sugar, proteins and fat and get it into shape with a bit of exercise to created edible meat. The only problem then is to find a new role for our livestock.
Cities have seen guerilla gardens, rooftop honey production, and fire escape chicken coops. Now, urban farmers may be adding aquaculture to the mix. Headed by ex-banker Christopher Toole, the Society for Aquaponic Values and Education in the Bronx, New York, raises tilapia in tanks and trashcans. Closed recirculating systems use the waste from the fish to fertilize herbs like mint and basil. Toole and his girlfriend and partner, Anya Pozdeeva, envision a future where neighborhood fish like “Bronx Best Blue Tilapia” become a thriving local industry.
Efforts from Toole and other New York tilapia pioneers like NYU professor Martin P. Schreibman may represent the future of fish. As cities grow, and wild fish stocks dwindle to near-depletion by 2050, the urban production of hardy, freshwater species like the tilapia could be a sustainable way for city-dwellers to have their fish and eat it too. Urban aquaculture faces some steep hurdles before becoming a profitable venture. Similar small-scale city fish farms have flopped over costs and lack of demand. However, there is one bright spot: In China, which has practiced fish farming since 2,000 BC, indoor recirculating aquaculture is doing a booming business.
Photo via Blue Ridge Aquaculture.
Some reactions from people shopping when they see how fresh their meat is.
You’re spending too much of your time in the sewers of the internet, planning to pigeon-rank your toilet visits or you’re simply feeling lucky? This peculiar shanzhai’d toilet paper might be for you. Made out of 100% virgin pulp, so no trees have died to whipe your behind.
City rats, it seems, prefer the same foods that humans do: Greasy, fatty, sweet, and salty. Although rats are usually seen as the billy goats of city life, ready to chow down on anything remotely edible, they show a marked distain for healthy vegetables. According to author Robert Sullivan, “A rat might starve in an alley full of raw carrots”. Like a human that missed the low-carb fad, Rattus norvegicus instead loads up on white bread, fried chicken, and mac and cheese.
Rats don’t only exhibit a human-like tendency to indulge in junk food. Although they naturally opt for sweet over spicy, their cultural background plays in a role in what they eat. In Manhattan’s East Harlem, home to one of the city’s biggest Latino populations, rats have reportedly developed a preference for the same spicy food that other rodents would reject.
Rats mirror our urban lives, eating what we don’t, absorbing our culture, and taking up residence in even the more undesirable real estate. Maybe they make us uneasy because they’re too good at acting human.
Humans are the only species on earth that cooks its food. Not only do we cook our food, but we usually find the flavor of cooked foods preferable to the raw version. Compare the smell of raw and pan-fried bacon. Which version makes you drool?
It’s no coincidence that your dog may be drooling alongside you. Several animals that have never eaten cooked food show a marked preference for a nice roast or stir-fry. Chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans all prefer cooked carrots, sweet potatoes, and even meat.
This natural predisposition has important implications for human evolution. Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham argues that cooking is not some simple, pleasant cultural development. Instead, it is the central driving force that transformed us from primitive hominids into Homo erectus and on through to Homo sapiens.