Sustainable Food
Our addiction to meat and a rapidly increasing population is linked to environmental and nutritional problems. Those problems are expected to worsen in 2050, culminating into a global food crisis.You are what you eat, they say. Interviews were conducted in Chicago with six people who, for better or worse, had been changed by food. Understanding this intimate relationship with food was an important first step in a journey where the problem and the solutions weren't so obvious from the beginning.Anna Glenn, an urban architect, was an important interviewee whose insights on local urban farming and food in general gave me my first design opportunity. She made me realize an important aspect of my solution should be about bringing people and their food closer together.Entomophagy is the art of eating insects for recreational or survival purposes.80 Percent of the world population already eats insects. Unfortunately, the remaining 20 Percent have the most impact on the ecological fate of the planet.Eating insects is a viable and sustainable alternative to our meat consumption because of their negligible feed value. For example it takes about 9 times more food to grow 1 pound of beef than it does 1 pound of insects.  There is an abundance of edible insects around the world, providing people with a plethora of choices and flavors.How do you introduce entomophagy into the lives of urbanites without dedicating more land space for the breeding and transformation of the insects into food?Sketch exploration of a built-in unit designed to breed insects inside a modern kitchen.Sketch Exploration of an extruder designed to transform powdered insects into edible dough or pasta.Sketch Exploration of an hourglass-shaped pod designed to grow insects and Spirulina Algae.Sketch Exploration of a portable unit designed to grow, capture, kill, store and dispense insects as food.Sketch Exploration of design details for a grasshopper nest.Sketch Exploration of design details for a grasshopper nest.Mockup of a breeding unit with modular units.Mockup of a breeding unit with modular units.The Lepsis is made up of four units designed to grow, feed, harvest, and kill insects.When assembled the unit takes the shape of a decorative vessel. The top and bottom units are engaged and the knob can be used to open the trap door.The Lepsis is an expression of our evolving nutritional values.Exploded view of the nestSection view of the assembled vessel showing the trap door mechanismSpring-loaded mechanism designed to guarantee a 180 degree rotation on the trap door and to secure the harvester and feeder onto the nest during usage.The form language of the product ensures that it fits seemlessly into the KitchenAid VBL

Abstract

Our gluttonous dependance on meat and a rapidly increasing population are linked to a multitude of environmental and nutritional problems we are currently confronted with. Those problems are expected to worsen in 2050 when the world population is projected to reach a whooping 9 Billion. With much of the damage being done in the industrialized world, the objective of this project was to find a sustainably viable alternative to current food production through a meticulous analysis of modern nutritional challenges and expectations.

Inspiration and Method

We are what eat. Therefore, to find a practical solution to this very ethological problem meant interviewing a selective number of people whose lives have been affected, for better or worse, by food. In no specific order I interviewed Jonathan Bloom; an author, Graham Mckim; a Chef, Margarita Lopez; a social worker, Fabiola and Roman; a young couple, and Anna Glenn; an Urban Architect with a passion for food and local farming. This remarkable group of people inspired me to see food, like products, as a catalyst for change. Armed with this conviction I identified Entomophagy (the art of eating insects) as a viable alternative to our current protein needs with the power to champion environmental awareness and activism. 80 Percent of the world population already eats insects. Unfortunately, the remaining 20 Percent have the most impact on the ecological fate of the planet. The challenge moving forward was finding a practical way of introducing this rather unconventional nutritional experience into a rapidly expanding urban environment.

Result

The final solution is a product designed to grow insects, in this case grasshoppers, in an urban home. Limited by space and energy, the design acts a vessel for manually growing, feeding, harvesting and neatly killing insects before turning them into food. The product is made up of four individual units that, when assembled, perform the dual function of insect breeder and decorative kitchen product. As a symbol of change, the product is a constant remember of the importance of food, its infinite diversity and our contribution in the survival of the planet and the fate future generations.