The Center for Genomic Gastronomy is proud to announce it’s first open design expo. We are seeking projects which embody the idea of Design for Alternative Culinary Futures. The world is a dynamic environment, and our food systems will need to be flexible by necessity. How do you see them changing? What events of the near future will shape how we feed the world?
“Drifters” is a project seeking to explore the food futures of the displaced. Visions of the future of food tend to focus on feeding the general stable populations, and as of late prominently feature bugs. And rightly so! The population is growing, and competition for resources in increasing. Alternatives are necessary. But what about those on the bottom rung? Between natural disasters, war, and other oppressions, there are on average 44 million people displaced in the world, all of whom must be fed. Our current food production methods are unsustainable for even our current population, so what happens when the population continues to increase and resources are even further constrained?
The year is 2064, and the effects of climate change have begun to wreak havoc on the planet, notably the low-lying coastal regions. Millions in the United States have been forced from their homes due to rising sea levels, and government relief efforts are feeding a significant portion of the population. However, a combination of resource limits and strict global carbon emission regulations have forced a change in eating habits. The high production and resource cost of typical livestock has become untenable for both producer and consumer, and the carbon and waste produced by industrialized farming systems of the past fails to meet regulatory standards.
The country, and much of the world, has been forced to implement alternative measures to feed their populations under duress. Consumption of bugs has finally gained traction out of necessity, but it is the rise of plankton that has truly allowed for economical and sustainable method of food production. As the government delivers millions of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), people find traditional recipes like Pot Luck Pie or Baghdad Chili replaced with Krill Burritos and Plankton Fried Rice. Plankton are vitamin rich and high in protein, while requiring much fewer resources to produce than a standard beef-based meal.
This project imagines how we begin to feed the millions of people who lack the stability and infrastructure to feed themselves. On the move, in hostile territory or refugee camps, this is a population easily forgotten about. But they still need the same nutrition anyone else is fortunate enough to get. We are attempting to design for the culinary future of the displaced.
Plankton Fried Rice MRE. Consists of 1/2 cup dehydrated brown rice, rice flavoring, dehydrated vegetables, zooplankton topping, nut & bug energy bar, dried fruit, 3 candies, and 1tsp spirulina powder to mix with water.
Spirulina powder, under the usb microscope. Looks familiar but strangely alien, almost like a landscape. Very lichen-esque.
Reef phytoplankton under the usb microscope. Looked completely devoid of any life. Probably too microscopic.
When you say plankton, most people think of whales, who filter plankton out of the water with baleen. I made myself some baleen. It was not as effective for me.
A future in which endless tanks of plankton are grown in place of our industrial farmlands. Based on current estimates of average farm size in the US and spirulina production per square meter, an average-sized farm could produce 10,000kg of plankton per day under optimal conditions.
I ordered an MRE online, which missed its delivery date to my house twice, so I never got it. That was unfortunate as examining and eating the MRE was going to be one of my main experiments, and really guide my design of a new MRE. I had to make do without it and design my own from scratch.
Dried spirulina adds vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, E, K Iron, and Manganese to any meal. Provides a large energy boost in smoothies or juices.
Brown rice with bell pepper, topped with spirulina and soy sauce. The taste is actually pretty nice. Spirulina has a very distinct flavor, but can easily become a common cooking ingredient with the right recipes.
- Moore, PG. “Popularizing Marine Natural History in Eighteenth and Nineteenth-century Britain.” The Society for the History of Natural History 41.1 (2014). Print.
- Shor, Elizabeth Noble. “Oceanography Is Fun: A Glimpse of the Expeditions.” Scripps Institute of Oceanography: Probing the Oceans 1936 to 1976 (1978): 389-420. Print.
- Caron, David, and David Hutchins. “The Effects of Changing Climate on Microzooplankton Grazing and Community Structure: Drivers, Predictions and Knowledge Gaps.” Journal of Plankton Research 35.2 (2012). Print.
- Adam Greer – Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Georgia – Biological oceanography
- Candice Machikas – Marine Science – University of South Carolina
- Commenters on reddit.com/r/military