Personalize your crop with Chloé Rutzerveld
Ever wondered why a tomato in Spain is redder than a tomato grown in the Netherlands? The question seems rather silly because the answer lies in the lessons we learned in middle school science — Spain has a warmer climate, and the crops get more hours of sunlight. It’s not only the amount of light and water that impacts the development of a crop; factors such as humidity, airflow, light spectrum, CO2 absorption, and pH of the soil are equally important. The adjustment of one growth factor can influence the shape, size, color, smell, taste, texture, and even the overall nutritional value of a crop. Chloé Rutzerveld imagined a future where we could customize our own crops using these very growth factors — an oddly simplistic replacement to the harmful processes and effects of Genetically Modified Crops. Welcome to the Future Food Formula.
Chloé found it rather difficult to simplify the project in its initial stages; from framing it as a genetic modification that only depended on growth factors to looking at it as a breakthrough in agriculture, Chloé started her work from a mere speculative idea. “In the beginning, it was mostly speculation or more fantasy-like; wondering if we can create new kinds of crops by experimenting with these growth recipes.” Collaborating with a 3D modeler and software programmer, and gaining knowledge from plant physiologists, Chloé was able to turn this speculation into reality.
Chloé found it rather difficult to simplify the project in its initial stages; from framing it as a genetic modification that only depended on growth factors to look at it as a breakthrough in agriculture, Chloé started her work from a mere speculative idea. “In the beginning, it was mostly speculation or more fantasy-like; wondering if we can create new kinds of crops by experimenting with these growth recipes.” Collaborating with a 3D modeller and software programmer, and gaining knowledge from plant physiologists, Chloé was able to turn this speculation into reality.
The difficulty to simply and comprehend the idea across all stakeholders was exactly the area that Chloé intended to target with her project. She meant for the project to form a bridge from research and development to production and consumers — to make this technology feasible and accessible to everyone involved. She decided to make an installation that explained the workings of vertical farming and growth recipes in order to take away the fear and replace it with inspiration that could open up the possibilities of new food technology.
Chloé observes that this passion for bringing change is not limited to her, but rather a trend that can be observed in designers worldwide. Moving away from aesthetics, designers are now thinking about a sustainable future where change is more easily accepted.
With Future Food Formula, Chloé envisions a future where consumers can take matters into their own hands, literally. “I would really like to see it in a supermarket or in a place of education where it’s not just there for exhibition but is really next to a whole range of products created with a vertical farm and perhaps even an option where you can make your own growth recipe and grow it on demand for yourself, so as to personalize your vegetables in a very like natural way. You can directly see what will probably happen on this installation. Just print the receipt and open the growth recipe. I think that would be super cool.”
Read the whole article written by Ruben Baart from Next Nature Network here. And come visit the Supermarket of the Future in the Embassy of Food during Dutch Design Week 2021, where Chloé’s prototypes and stories are on show.
This interview came about as part of the Embassy of Food 2021, one of the World Design Embassies. Curators Annelies Hermsen and Chloé Rutzerveld researched seven projects within seven themes and interviewed designers about technology, food waste, health, education, protein transition, non-food and packaging. Ruben Baart of Next Nature Network turned the interviews into articles.
The Embassy of Food is made possible in part by the DOEN Foundation, Prince Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Albert Heijn and the Dutch Design Foundation.