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Food 2050 Prize

Landless Food – Regeneration of extinct flavor families via microalgae



We are in the year 2050. Agriculture, as we used to know it, barely exists anymore. Former biodiversity has deteriorated with human consumerism and the impacts of climate change. Further crises arose after overfishing depleted fish stocks, and the extinction of bees caused the disappearance of many flowering plants and herbs. Our spectrum of natural flavours has been significantly reduced. This loss of agro-biodiversity not only endangers human health, but also the spirituality and cultural importance of culinary traditions.

The project, Landless Food, proposes a regeneration of humanity’s food system by introducing a new family of timely flavours that bring our culinary memories back on the table. These are based on microalgae, which have come into focus of research for the variety of tastes that can be further diversified and refined through manipulation of their metabolism. The first outcomes are a line of seafood flavours and a floral spice.
For this, local strains of microalgae have been cultivated on edible gel-like objects. After a period of two weeks the algae can be harvested and consumed freshly. Landless Food presents six food objects as reincarnations of three types of lost flavours. While the shapes of the food remain partly unfamiliar, the tools that are designed to eat these objects relate back to the long extinct resources of the taste.

Detailed explanation of the submitted project or idea.

Landless Food was born out of the interest in one of the most underestimated consequences of the climate crisis. Extinction does not only mean extinction of exotic animals or wild plants, it also includes our agro-biodiversity and therefore our flavour diversity.

Landless food is trying to prepare society for this future disruption by giving an evocative and perhaps terrifyingly honest, yet exciting and interesting view on a future without agriculture. The fear of eating only to be fed without pleasure sparks rescue schemes and inspires visions. The project communicates scientific research and findings by the ILVO institute Belgium on different flavour profiles that are naturally produced by saltwater microalgae. Rather than scaring people and just leaving them with an uncertain future, Landless Food is trying to empower people by offering an alternative perspectives. This food future where microalgae will satisfy our desire for flavour varieties might be very different from the food system we are used to today but we will able to experience flavour diversity in times of food extinction still.

The project Landless food is educating on underestimated consequences of the climate crisis, speculating and visualising plausible future solutions and communicating scientific knowledge.


Comments from Judges

Mitchell van Dooijeweerd

Sustainability Manager of DGTL Festival / Revolution Foundation

Food 2050 Prize

The current food system is not sustainable. Worldwide, too much (40%) of produced food is thrown away, while we are using too much land, water and energy and we need animals to feed people. We need to be more efficient, forward thinking and carefull with our resources. We need innovation and 2050 thinkers in this world to inspire others and shape the world differently.

Landless food is a project that inspires and really adopt a different strategy, which is beyond circular. Circularity is not enough, culture is very important and we need to find ways to lower the impacts of the foodsystem, while creating state of the art experiences and tastes.

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