1 Bug harvesting, by Third Millenium Farming and Belatchew Arkitekter
Even though billions of people around the world have dined on insects for millennia, a phobia of eating bugs remains throughout most of North America and Europe, keeping the protein-rich food source from becoming a dietary staple. That’s about to change. With the global population expected to reach nine billion by 2050, entomophagy is becoming an obvious, viable solution to pending food shortages, offering an economical way to produce protein at a fraction of the cost of raising livestock, with significantly less farmland. The challenge lies in how to break the culturally entrenched taboo and turn crickets into the new kale.
To help popularize the trend, some top-tier Paris restaurants have begun to serve such delicacies as water scorpions baked in pepper and black garlic. In Toronto, architect and entrepreneur Jakub Dzamba has launched Third Millennium Farming, a cricket farm made from re-purposed water bottles. The tabletop unit is designed to be escape-proof and utilizes bio-waste as feed. Dzamba hopes to adapt his miniature ecosystem for large-scale production.
Belatchew Arkitekter of Stockholm has gone a step further. In June, the experimental firm launched a proposal called Insectcity, which would see nine full-scale insect farms installed at roundabouts throughout the city. The doughnut-shaped steel structures would double as learning and commercial hubs, with restaurants along the buildings’ periphery serving up the harvest; and at their cores a natural habitat for cultivating crickets and safe havens for endangered bee species. The firm’s CEO, Rahel Belatchew Lerdell, considers the visibility of his field-to-table concept essential, so people can overcome their insect hang-ups. The Buzzbuildings, as the proposal calls them, would ensure a self-sufficient food supply for Stockholm.
2 Valcucine’s open-source kitchen hack
The Meccanica kitchen system’s barely there design enables endless adaptability – a feature Valcucine believes makes it amenable to any culinary trend or household evolution. Yet even the manufacturer realizes that responding to change requires continual reinvention. This spring during EuroCucina, the world’s largest fair devoted to kitchens, the Italian company tore a page from the design thinker’s manual and invited 11 creative types (including one aerospace engineering student) to hack Meccanica, adding features as they liked. “We wanted to see what other drivers besides us could add to the system,” says marketing head Daniele Prosdocimo.
The results of the open-source workshop, which took place publicly within the Milan showroom, were similar to what comes out of most incubator labs – a goulash of both brilliant and dumb ideas. One participant proposed a grey water system to funnel cooking water into the garden (good idea); another wanted to convert the fabric used on the cupboard doors into reusable shopping bags (impractical); and collaborators Marina Cinciripini and Vittorio Cuculo designed an infographic embedded with conductive and reactive LEDs that make it easier to track down kitchen tools in drawers and cupboards (brilliant). Prosdocimo has hinted that at least one of the ideas generated is being considered for a future Valcucine product.