Food As A Commons

People go hungry not because of a shortage of production, but because the food available is too expensive, or they lack the land to grow it on. In California, the prototype of a combined social, political and technical  solution has been launched which promises to unlock the food system crisis.

Kiel & Dan per thru <a href=… [continue …]

2015-06-20T19:42:07+00:00May 13th, 2014|Feeding, Urban-Rural|

Between Sorrel And Supertanker

aa XSKL FP herbs presentation

In what ways can design help people interact with living systems in ways that help both of them thrive? And, what small practical steps might one take to test the effect of small actions on the system as a whole?

These two questions informed our Doors of Perception xskool … [continue …]

2015-06-20T19:54:47+00:00August 22nd, 2013|Feeding, Urban-Rural|

Beer and solidarity

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The photograph shows John Gorzynski and his vegetables before a hurricane devastated his family’s farm last Autumn. Nestled in a valley of the Catskills, Gorzynski Ornery Farm is where … [continue …]

2012-02-22T07:43:02+00:00February 8th, 2012|Feeding|

From Milk To Superfoods: Supping With The Devil?

I’d be surprised if many readers of this blog work for the fracking industry. Those charming people spend a lot on lobbying and public relations, sure – but their main aim in life is to remain obscure.

But food and drink? The branding, the packaging, the communications, the stores, the promotions, the trade shows, the hotels, the restaurants? Would I be … [continue …]

2012-04-02T16:02:13+00:00December 11th, 2011|Feeding, most read|

Turn-key food hives

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Hanging out with health system innovators in recent times I’ve been struck by two interesting things. The first is that the buzz in the investor community about health apps is palpable. To feed the hunger, a new incubator called Rock Health, positioning itself as “the seed accelerator for health startups”, promises to “power the … [continue …]

2011-11-28T14:59:32+00:00November 2nd, 2011|Feeding|

Shoe Town to Brew Town

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When Jimmy Carbone, co-creator of The Good Beer Seal, was considering running for mayor of his old hometown in Haverhill, Massachusetts, he began to ponder possible new uses for industrial buildings that had fallen in to disuse. Could small resource-sharing breweries be a centerpiece of a regional economic development? To find out, he asked his … [continue …]

2011-06-23T17:54:27+00:00June 23rd, 2011|Feeding|

The high-tech permaculture metabolic engine greenhouse

[Stop Press: Polydome has been shortlisted for the 2012 Buckminster Fukller Challenge]

A few years ago urban farming in developed cities was a fringe topic that few designers or architects thought much about. There were exceptions: we tried hard [but failed] to build a prototype of Natalie Jeremijenko’s Urban Space Station at Designs of the time in 2007. But the … [continue …]

2012-04-02T16:13:24+00:00June 21st, 2011|Feeding, most read|

The big chill

Shopping for a snack in central London yesterday evening I counted an extraordinary 78 metres (256 feet) of chiller cabinets in one small central London branch of Marks and Spencer.
Marks and Spencer have made a laudable commitment to make all it UK and Irish operations carbon neutral within five years. “We’ll maximise our use of renewable energy and only … [continue …]

2012-04-02T17:00:00+00:00August 4th, 2010|Feeding, most read|

Eating animals

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If Requiem for a Species (below) is shocking at an existential level, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals hits you at the level of lunch.
It’s no less gruelling for that. Among the in-your-face statements that pepper the text: “When we eat factory farmed meat we live literally on tortured meat..and put it into … [continue …]

2012-04-02T17:04:11+00:00April 2nd, 2010|Feeding, most read|

Melons we can believe in

Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), told the US Congress last week that Japan’s debt path was out of control. Simon warned of “a real risk that Japan could end up in a major default”. [The IMF expects Japan’s gross public debt to reach 218pc of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, 227pc next … [continue …]

2009-11-02T19:52:04+00:00November 2nd, 2009|Feeding|

How much is a school garden worth?

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One in nine Americans already relies on federal food stamps to help buy groceries – a startling number that will grow as unemployment rises. At the same time, medical spending on obesity – a major cause of diabetes, stroke and heart attacks – reached $147 billion in 2008, an 87 percent increase in a … [continue …]

2009-08-03T11:12:16+00:00August 3rd, 2009|Feeding|

Urban farming: the new dot com?

In September a new event called Agriculture 2.0 will introduce a select group of alternative agriculture entrepreneurs to investors. SPIN-Farming LLC, together with NewSeed Advisors will co-host Agriculture 2.0 in New York.
Roxanne Christensen, co-author of the SPIN-Farming online learning series, says a wave of innovators is developing profitable models for sustainable alternatives to industrial agriculture. These new … [continue …]

2009-06-10T11:25:01+00:00June 10th, 2009|Feeding|

Dodo and chips

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Before my recent visit to Helsinki, I was told by one of its members, Päivi Raivio, that I needed to know about an environmental organisation there called Dodo. And so it transpired that I was taken in conditions of some secrecy to this guerilla potato planting event. Given the generous volume of soil … [continue …]

2009-06-08T15:15:58+00:00June 8th, 2009|Feeding|

London “nine meals away from anarchy”

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In 2007 Lord Cameron of Dillington, first head of the UK Countryside Agency, famously remarked that Britain was ‘nine meals away from anarchy.’ Britain’s food supply is so totally dependent on oil – 95 per cent of the food eaten there is oil-dependent – that if the oil supply to Britain were suddenly … [continue …]

2009-03-30T17:59:49+00:00March 30th, 2009|Feeding|

Nill by mouth

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I just wasted (sorry, invested) half an hour of a busy day scrolling through a collection of digital dashboards. The one above is made for a hedge fund; it looks to me like a virus – but then I am probably prejudiced. The dashboard below is about car door supply chains: I can … [continue …]

2008-07-31T08:42:10+00:00July 31st, 2008|Feeding|

Eating Spin

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The British government is in talks with supermarkets about emergency food reserves “in case the infrastructure of the country breaks down”. The exercise is being spun as a response to possible strikes by fuel tanker drivers, but the more likely explanation is that the precarious state of food systems as a whole has finally registered … [continue …]

2008-07-11T07:14:56+00:00July 11th, 2008|Feeding|

Innovating our way to oblivion

Out-of-control buzzwords are like locusts: you can swat handfuls of them down with a bat, but more will come to take their place.
I’ve been swatting away for ages in this blog at all things Conceptual, Cultural, Clustered and (especially) Creative. But now we’re suffering a massive counter-attack by the word Innovation – 137 million uses of which are known … [continue …]

2008-06-16T17:28:49+00:00June 16th, 2008|Feeding|

Worship those worms

Readers of this blog will need no introduction to the Estonian bio-semiotician Jakob von Uexkull (1864-1944). Oh, you do? Go to the back of the class. Well, Tallinn Jake saw mind, body and context as inseparable, for all animals (including human ones) and he coined the word umwelt to describe the unity of an organism’s physical life-support system and … [continue …]

2008-04-10T11:31:27+00:00April 10th, 2008|Feeding|

The big chill

Shopping for a snack in central London yesterday evening I counted an extraordinary 78 metres (256 feet) of chiller cabinets in one small central London branch of Marks and Spencer.
Marks and Spencer have made a laudable commitment to make all it UK and Irish operations carbon neutral within five years. “We’ll maximise our use of renewable energy and only use … [continue …]

2008-01-08T08:20:51+00:00January 8th, 2008|Feeding|

Who is afraid of local food?

In the October issue of Blueprint its editor Vicky Richardson’s accused Designs of the time (Dott 07) of secretly buying 10,000 pounds worth of fruit and vegetables when our Urban Farming project in Middlesbrough “did not generate adequate grub for the guests”. Vicky declined to name the greengrocer for whom Christmas came so early – and I hereby confirm that … [continue …]

2007-11-30T10:55:35+00:00November 30th, 2007|Feeding|

Food systems and cities: Doors event in UK

Up to 30 percent of the ecological footprint of a city can be attributed to the systems which keep it fed and watered. But when the Mayors of the world’s 40 largest cities met recently to discuss sustainability strategies, food was not on the agenda. Why not?
Doors is organising a one day international debate, jointly with Designs of the time … [continue …]

2007-08-16T19:39:35+00:00August 16th, 2007|Feeding|

Lethally lit lunch

George Monbiot also writes about food in his book Heat (see below). Food retailers, especially, waste insane amounts of energy. They use seven times more power (275 k Wh per cubic metre) to run a food hall than is used in an office. For the larger stores, up to a quarter of that energy budget goes on lighting – which … [continue …]

2006-10-18T16:14:50+00:00October 18th, 2006|Feeding|

Noisy food

A couple of days ago I found myself in the town centre of Carlisle, in the north west of England, at 7am. The roads were empty except for a a large white truck whose driver was unloading packaged food into a shop. An incredible, raw-edged roar of noise came from the refrigeration unit on top of his cab. The noise … [continue …]

2006-09-21T10:01:38+00:00September 21st, 2006|Feeding|

Food as a design opportunity

Doors of Perception 9 takes place in New Delhi 28 February to 4 March 2007. The theme is “Juice: Food, Fuel, Design”.
We’ve extended the first deadline for submissions to 30 September.
Why “juice”?
(Most of the statistics that follow are taken from the miraculously useful and interesting website of Jean-Marc Jancovci)
Global food systems are becoming unsustainable in terms … [continue …]

2006-09-07T09:34:41+00:00September 7th, 2006|Feeding|

Doors 9 call for projects

DOORS OF PERCEPTION 9: JUICE: FOOD, FUEL, MEANING
Food continuously circulates through the landscape into our homes and Bodies. It thereby organizes our calorific, symbolic and social energies. Juice, the essence of food, can also mean credit, electricity, access, flavor and love. The topic of food, as product as well as service, as metaphor as well as material, as energy as … [continue …]

2006-07-08T20:21:52+00:00July 8th, 2006|Feeding|
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