How might the western supermarket shopping experience change by 2025? Will we see hydroponic vegetable aisles and more signs warning about crop failures due to severe weather? Will there be insect-based foods on display and lab-grown meat on the shelves to enable everyone to meet their nutritional needs?
Beginning with an inquiry into how the current food systems might become more sustainable, this project utilized the methodologies of material exploration and speculative design to examine the areas of vegetable production and meat consumption.
The technology behind lab-grown meat has the potential to dramatically reduce the environmental impact of meat consumption. While some consider the idea of lab-grown meat unnatural and repulsive, the increasing number of companies in this sector imply that it is likely to be on shelves in the near future.
Because of the minimal pollution, usage of water and land during the production process, this new type of protein is considered “Clean Meat”. While it is several years away from being in stores, I felt that this new food technology represented an opportunity to develop “clean packaging”. I chose to develop packaging using the materials of glass and paper due to their near-infinite levels of recyclability. By developing a fictional supermarket brand for this new food, this project aims to normalize cultured meats, encourage people to think about how their food is produced, and how the food we eat impacts the planet.
Hydroponic farming is becoming increasingly affordable and efficient. Seeds are grown in rockwool propagation cubes and transfered to larger growing containers to develop for harvesting. Aside from the fact that rockwool requires 1600°C to be produced, what if the container could “grow” as the plant developed? Based on research into plant nutrients, this portion of the project looked to origami, recycled paper, and fruit by-products as a starting point for making nutrient rich paper for microgreens which are dense in nutrition and can be harvested quite quickly.
The purpose for developing a locally produced material for hydroponic vegetable production is to see how a new material might encourage greater adoption and experimentation with hydroponic technologies. Currently an open-source/DIY is paper recipe is underdevelopment.
Initially the concept investigated application of the Muira fold as a way to achieve space saving design. While the mixture of recycled paper, coconut fibers, and fruit peels were able to tolerate the folding stresses, initial testing with seeds demonstrated that the roots simply traveled downward through the material and ignored the transforming nature of the folds.
Continuing the material exploration, I experimented with different ratios of recycled paper and fruit by-products. Depending on the amount of paper to pulp, peels, and fibers, determined the rigidity, color, and nutritional content of the material.