Could invasive species, harming the ecosystem, be our next source of food?
In October 2017, “Menu from the new wild” was selected as one of the top 20 projects to take on the antenna stage organised by Design Indaba and Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Industrial designer Alexandra Fruhstorfer is tackling an essential ecological issue. Invasive plants and animals are threatening the stability and functionality of our wildlife. Her solution is to reduce their numbers by making them commercially viable. Clearly, the next step will be to integrate them into our business cycle by eating them!
“Menu from the new wild” is a culinary concept solution targeting two major problems: protecting our native biodiversity from invasive species and offering new food resources for our growing population. “Soup from the invasive Pond Slider Turtle, roasted Raccoon with shoots from Japanese Knotweed and Seed on cream from Himalayan Balsam appear on the menu of a near future”, envisions Alexandra.
Through a special dining experience, Alexandra provokes discussions about global ecological changes and human role within it. “Do we have to change our paradigms of consumption if we want to protect what we consider to be our ‘pristine’ nature? Or is this only a late justification of our own ecological mess? How do we even define ‘nature’ in the age of the anthropocene?”
Menu from the new wild is a quality example project where the food element is not the starting point of design but rather the derivative of a deep analysis of a bigger problem not originally linked to the act of eating or food in general.
The project shows us how, when overlapping the food field with adjacent topics like ecology, nature, living species (etc.) it can lead to meaningful and valuable design solutions where humans are able to relate to and gain a major role in participating at resolving global challenges.
In my opinion, we need more of these educative, boundary breaking projects to tweak our way of looking at global problems and to trigger new alternative ways of thinking and acting toward a better future for us human species and our commonplace, the living planet.
This article was written by our correspondent Tina Breidi.
Read more about Tina here: www.thedifd.com/tinabreidi