Food Systems Concept Exploration

The full title of this course is “Food Systems: Interventions and Remediations.” Our projects are meant to explore ways we can affect positive change in the system. Some potential areas of exploration include education, policy, agriculture, awareness, and technology. To go along with that partial list I have a list of partially-though-through ideas. While the ideas themselves may not be complex, the way they overlap categories is a reminder that we’re trying to intervene and remediate a complex system.

It’s important to me that each idea is trying to achieve something specific. The scale of the idea is less important to me than an achievable, theoretically scalable prototype or proof of concept. This isn’t because of the truncated class length but rather because overly-lofty ideas with vague ambitions to solve the coming food crisis do nothing to help. You could say they provide inspiration or give us an ideal to strive for, but I think an idea that approaches a problem like a key does a lock is more inspiring, more thought-provoking, and more tangible to the audience that needs to understand it.

Concepts

Build familiarity with alternative food sources such as crickets and educate/raise awareness that food trends are, in some sense, manufactured by designing a hypothetical brand of alternative food source products, including messaging, packaging, and website.

Develop an interactive infographic that reveals the invisible structure of the food system and helps sift through the overwhelming amount of information. This educational tool maps the complex connections between policy decisions, economics, trade agreements, the stock and futures markets, food production, consumption, and trends.

Create a series of food science-based art pieces/”products” that reframe the way we think about food and make a statement about the dearth of general knowledge about food. (E.g. DNA jam, iron trinkets made from fortified cereal, bottled pure chlorophyll, etc.)

Resource management game in the style of “Drug Wars.” Players are tasked with managing the production, trade, and distribution of food resources across different regions of the US. It’s an educational tool that reveals the complexity of the US’ food structure through game play.

Develop a prototype grey water management solution base on sustainable aquaculture–using oysters (or other bivalves) as a bio-filter to reclaim grey water from home usage and building runoff in urban environments. This could be particularly impactful on costal cities. Oysters literally helped lay the foundation for New York City. Can they help sustain it?

Create an algae bloom in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool as a show of solidarity for the underrepresented alternative resources lobby in Washington DC.