Edible Growth

A project about the creation of a fully edible 3D printed ecosystem.
How can we use new technologies to enhance the food production
chain and support natural growth? 

In collaboration with: TUE and TNO | 2014
Coach: Menno Stoffelsen

- Awarded: Euregio Prize - RECIPROCITY 2015  'The Taste of Change'  
- Nominated for a Social Design Award in 2014


Edible Growth is a critical design project about the potential usefulness of additive manufacturing in food production. It’s an example of high-tech but fully natural, healthy, and sustainable food made possible by combining natural growth, technology and design. 

EDIBLE GROWTH

New technologies have always influenced our eating habits, food supply chains, preparation methods and introduced entirely new food products to the market. With the rise of more high-tech food and new production methods consumers are becoming increasingly more concerned about the quality and ‘realness’ of the food and their health. 

So why are we using additive manufacturing techniques to create fancy shapes of chocolate, sugar and dough? Starting from this critical view, I made it my mission to find a way to use this technology to create healthy, functional food that could contribute in solving world food problems and environmental issues. 

Edible growth is a future food concept that forms the bridge between new technologies and authentic practices of growing and breeding food. Additive manufacturing techniques are used to create a fully edible ecosystem that can flourish in any condition. 

Multiple layers of support structure and an edible breeding ground that includes seeds, spores and yeast, are printed according to a personalized 3D file. Within five days the plants and fungi mature while the yeast ferments a solid inside into a liquid. The products intensifying structure, scent and taste are reflected in its changing appearance. Depending on the preferred intensity, the consumer decides when to harvest and enjoy the fresh and nutrient-rich edible.

 

 

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS 

1. Reduction agricultural footprint
Farming of both livestock and crops is the largest human endeavor on Earth, using more than 38% of ice-free land. Printing growth-enabling structures for home growth reduces the amount of agricultural land drastically. At the same time post harvest activities and harvest labour become unnecessary. Farmers will become the providers of raw materials.

 2. Reduction food miles  
Because only the raw materials have to be delivered, the food production chain is very short. Produce does not need to be transported from the field to distribution centre - to an auction - wholesale - packaging - supermarkets and eventually to the consumer. It’s printed directly and on demand in a recyclable greenhouse in a grocery store or shop-in-shop after which the basic structure with the edible breeding-ground, precisely located seeds, spores and yeast will develop at the consumers house.
- Reduction food miles + reducing Co2 emissions
- Pre-packaging, distribution become superfluous  
- Changing functions of farmer and consumer.

  

 

 

3. No more food waste or conservatives
The produce doesn’t need to be stored and therefore can not turn bad, which also makes conservatives in our food unnecessary. 

4. Increase consumer awareness
The consumer becomes the farmer and harvests the product before consumption. Absolute freshness without additives. The consumer will be more involved in the growth process of the food and becomes more aware of food production and consumption. 


Edible Growth in de VPRO Pilot
'Schatgraven in de nieuwe wereld'

RTL 7 Edible Growth on Bright Day