Food Editor, GOOD / Author, Edible Geography / Co-founder, Foodprint Project
The design of food has the potential to reshape the world, let alone what we eat for dinner. Food—the substance itself, as well as its methods of production and consumption—has always been the subject of tinkering and design. The color of carrots, the shape of silverware, and the layout of supermarkets are all products of human ingenuity applied to the business of nourishment. Today, food is being redesigned more fundamentally and at a faster pace than ever before. This process is taking place in a wide variety of different contexts, with very different goals in mind, from corporate food technologists re-shaping salt crystals to maintain palatability while combating heart disease, to synaesthetic experiences designed by artist-entrepreneurs such as Marije Vogelzang.
In an era when food justice, food security, climate change, and obesity are such pressing issues, should there be public funding for food design R&D, and, if so, who should be receiving it?
Ethel gave the final word
-Should there be public funding for food design R&D?
Food as collective knowledge evolves. In this sense we can infer that it has a sort of “swarm design” implicit on it. Research has sense in order to register and describe food and pre-industrial systems associated (e.g. seed-bank)
It was pointed out above that “Food is not just what is edible”, but also all the linked activities (food systems as differentiated by Nam). Those systems, developed after the Green Revolution, have generated a series of problems due to its obsession on productivity. Systems should be designed in order to improve them under parameters of equity and non-monetary wellness. I consider that public funding for R+D on food systems should be enhanced in that direction.
Closely related to food delivery systems is what Nicola claimed at the very beginning of the conversation: Food Justice. In this case debate necessarily goes from geopolitical implications and equity subject of our consumption system, in which the western world access to food is granted by the perpetuation of unfair relationships with developing countries as shown in documentaries as Darwin’s Nightmare; until arriving to the right of cities inhabitants to access healthy, low carbon impact food.
-Who should be receiving funding?
It would be desirable that research funding may be oriented to enhance the suppression of extra energy consumer agents into the food chain system (e.g. massive crop fields, transportation, warehousing).
Related with creative incubators mentioned by John at the very beginning of the debate we can list La ciudad Jubilada on the urban gardens tended by retired person at the margins of the rivers of Barcelona or the activist-like approach of Food+Tech Connect
Finally; we all haven’t mentioned another key question while talking about public research funding on food systems: Who will get the ownership of the knowledge generated? Practices such as Monsanto’s had shown us that big corporations can take advantage and get profit of ancient agriculture knowledge (maize is a domesticated plant). This fact makes us think that it would be fair that all this kind of research should be open source oriented, to avoid private profit of social funded knowledge.
Friday, December 17 at 1:23pm