Open Food Design
With their new project shown at Vienna Design Week 2020, designer Jakob Glasner and agricultural scientist Philipp Lammer aim to bring people from all along the food chain closer together. From tomato seeds to tomato soup, via rare plant breeders Arche Noah and pan makers Riess, Glasner explains the journey.
3rd October 2020
What was your aim with this project? What was the problem that needed to be solved, or the process that needed to be improved or highlighted and how did you arrive at the topic?
In the context of future foods, technological solutions (like artificial meat, for example) tend to get a lot of attention, which is understandable and to a certain extent also very important. At the same time I wish more attention would be drawn to questions about the societal implications of the industrial shift in food production and the privatisation of crops – and alternatives to them. To highlight one alternative, the Bauernparadeiser initiative is a network of farmers, breeders and scientists who develop tasty and robust tomato plant variants in a collaborative process, which are also common property. Their approach reminded me a lot of open design strategies. The only thing that was missing was the involvement of the eater. So we started this project involving the gustatory feedback of “consumers”.
How did you choose and approach the players involved? Was it difficult to explain the idea and get them to participate?
I’ve known Philipp Lammer, the agricultural scientist and one of the managers of Bauernparadeiser, for years. The project is the result of many discussions about the future of agri- and food culture. He suggested partnering with the community-supported Jaklhof farm in Austria, which is part of the Bauernparadeiser breeding network. There are three family generations working on the farms. Discussing our experimental design concept and food culture in general with the grandmother was one of the most memorable moments of this project for me.