The Challenge


How might we better connect food production and consumption? read the brief


Cultivating Food Design

Food Design and Re-Design competition, of produce and new staples (not the recipes or the packaging)
Curry powder, is a "Designed" spice, because it is in fact a mix of several other spices. Start a regional or national or international Food Design competition with the base in Queensland. With the intent of crowdsourcing innovation to create new patentable niche products or trademarked local crops.
Take inspiration from Heston Blumenthal, that designs food that looks like something new and different and tastes like a completely new combination.

Influence science, farmers and designers to collaborate and to research new crops, that grow faster or with less water, or on less space, or that can survive in salty or acidic soil (that we can expect more of in the future).

Like the example with : brussel sprouts, that is a cultivated and modified type of cabbage, ( most cabbage types are derived and evolved from a single type of cabbage , most regular grains like wheat and barley is derived and evolved from a type of grass and so on ) and that have got now forever the link to the city of Brussels. (Netherlands and U.K now produce around 80 000 metric tons yearly of Brussel sprouts)

Inspire local business in catering and food processing world to innovate new types of ingredients, that will take shorter time to cook than conventional ones, and will fill you up better with more nutrients and fibre and proteins. Perhaps novelty designs, like a potato that you can peel like a banana?

And perhaps new crops that can be used as replacement for other ingredients (that have very short seasonality, or that demand a lot of fertilizer.)

This Design competition can in second stages spawn a name competition for the new products, and later a whole variety of competitions for new recipes and new versions on old recipes. (these could be on TV as reality game shows)

Sadly the Australian Design Awards does not have a food category yet.

And perhaps scientists will faster discover new crops that can be easily used in another means, for medical remedies, or simply a new way to reduce food waste, if the new ingredient has become too old to be eaten. (inspiration here is from a program i watched where they made plastic plates and cutlery out of the starch in potatoes and soy beans, and plastic bags out of corn)
Potential Results:
people will get a better understanding to where their food comes from, reduces the fears slightly about Genetically Modified Crops (GMO's), creates a local pride, and possibly a new trademarked local crop that can be exported or licenced to other countries. Creating potential revenue, fame and so on.
Please feel free to add details, in these last few hours of concepting


Join the conversation and post a comment.

Cristina Greavu

May 04, 2011, 03:45AM
I’m intrigued by the potential meaningful competition briefs (you have a few nice ones!). Debate over that would get the organizers (maybe an interdisciplinary team of farmers, scientists, economists, historians, designers, others?) to challenge the values and the questions that we ask of our food.

Your suggested criteria boil down in my mind (please tell me if I’m oversimplifying) to the use of less resources for food production (time, water, land, quality of land) while increasing the value we get out of food (nutritional, ease and availability for use, reuse, even entertainment?). To others out there – any other ideas of what else should we ask for?

There’s a cool project that proposes making food that’s nutritional for humans AND animals – a cross-species snack: - go to the link under “for the birds” – nutrition facts

Johan Löfström

May 04, 2011, 07:19AM
exactly! thank you. i placed a comment on your concept, and as you see I have linked yours to this concept as they appear to go hand in hand.


April 30, 2011, 04:57AM
This is a project, by one of my most favourite design agencies Berg London:

They think about the future of food and lab grown meat. Their work is conceptual to a certain degree but might inspire you in this context.

I love your idea and I hope people will work that out in reality!

NarasimhaMurthy Gollapudi

April 29, 2011, 17:30PM
I do not know much about this but...i believe there is 'prescriptive diet' in the Ayurvedic traditions of India.... by which i mean Meals are designed for your physical -body type to maximize health and nutrition.
Is this something you were thinking about? but with a commercial angle?

Johan Löfström

April 29, 2011, 19:14PM
no, not at all. Design as a mean to alter colour or shape on all types of food. Agricultural skills to cross two different kinds of a vegetable to get a type that is more protective against pests and mold and other attacks

See the video in this link, if you still don't know what it is about:

Krassimira Iordanova

April 27, 2011, 14:35PM
Genetically Modified Crops is a very controversial topic I is an artivle about how the Amish community, who litterly lives back in 1690's use GM crops to compensate for the loss due to entirely farming by hand...

Anuja Singhal

April 27, 2011, 11:39AM
Genetically Modified Crops is a fear that most people I assume have. The first step to this initiative should be to kind of educate people in some way that 'wierd looking crops' are not unhealthy. To be real, I would be too scared to pick up bluetinted potatoes, zebrastriped or dotted beet roots! May be a campaign suggested by David here could be used...

Johan Löfström

April 27, 2011, 11:46AM
yes, thanks, it is in the inspirations on the right :)

Kirk Soderstrom

April 27, 2011, 15:33PM
If I'm not mistaken, I believe most crops are genetically weigh in on the design of the seeds, based on their weather projections. (I'll double check this)

James McBennett

April 27, 2011, 07:13AM
"Food design" reminds me of 3d printing food. There's a nice video on the last article that explains all.

MIT project 'Digital Gastronomy' where food is 3d printed, and one chooses your recipe, mix, ratio and so on.

Philips also involved

Cornell as well

Johan Löfström

April 27, 2011, 07:36AM
As I really do love the print-on-demand-potential of 3D-printing of plastics and metals, I am not sure the food would become cheap enough. And I consider most methods within "molecular gastronomy" wastes a whole lot of electricity per serving.

But i do really understand and admire the possibilities to use the tech for research and for "stretching the envelope", or "bending the spoon".

And to create novelty desserts like for instance filling some bananas with some melted chocolate, but you cannot see that the peel has been tampered with. (it is possible to do manually with low-tech-tools like syringes.)

Vincent Cheng

April 26, 2011, 23:13PM
Nice out of the box idea Johan.

Kirk Soderstrom

April 27, 2011, 17:31PM
I like this idea as well. I think that a database (or catalog for farmers) would be very valuable as well.

I'm imagining a "pixel" effect, with several of these "striped" varieties creating visually stunning food presentations.

Meena Kadri

April 26, 2011, 22:43PM
Good call for the Australian Design Awards!

Did you know that the orange carrot was developed and stabilised by Dutch farmers in the 17th century, popularising their struggle for Independence? Talk about effective national branding!

Meena Kadri

April 26, 2011, 22:46PM
And great to see that you're lucky Concept No. 599 with this gem!

Johan Löfström

April 26, 2011, 22:53PM
I know a lot of tidbits about the origin for lots of our present day food (and domesticated house pets). But most people are unaware about old ages Genetical Modifications and agricultural creativity and ingenuity, that is sad.

Jason Morenikeji

April 27, 2011, 07:19AM
Re: Agricultural creativity and ingenuity. Too true, we tend to focus on reinventing the wheel rather than developing learnings from history.

Johan Löfström

April 27, 2011, 07:30AM
Exactly, Jason! People in lab coats and million dollar equipment spend dozens of years to fiddle around with trying to change a cell in a plant. When you could really do marvelous things in the field :

as with the example from Meena, there exists bluetinted potatoes, zebrastriped or dotted beet roots and carrots...
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