food systems & design

Urban farming: the new dot com?

In September a new event called Agriculture 2.0 will introduce a select group of alternative agriculture entrepreneurs to investors. SPIN-Farming LLC, together with NewSeed Advisors will co-host Agriculture 2.0 in New York. Roxanne Christensen, co-author of the SPIN-Farming online learning series, says a wave of innovators is developing profitable models for sustainable alternatives to industrial […]

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Dodo and chips

Before my recent visit to Helsinki, I was told by one of its members, Päivi Raivio, that I needed to know about an environmental organisation there called Dodo. And so it transpired that I was taken in conditions of some secrecy to this guerilla potato planting event. Given the generous volume of soil the team […]

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London “nine meals away from anarchy”

In 2007 Lord Cameron of Dillington, first head of the UK Countryside Agency, famously remarked that Britain was ‘nine meals away from anarchy.’ Britain’s food supply is so totally dependent on oil – 95 per cent of the food eaten there is oil-dependent – that if the oil supply to Britain were suddenly to be […]

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Nill by mouth

I just wasted (sorry, invested) half an hour of a busy day scrolling through a collection of digital dashboards. The one above is made for a hedge fund; it looks to me like a virus – but then I am probably prejudiced. The dashboard below is about car door supply chains: I can imagine here […]

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Eating Spin

The British government is in talks with supermarkets about emergency food reserves “in case the infrastructure of the country breaks down”. The exercise is being spun as a response to possible strikes by fuel tanker drivers, but the more likely explanation is that the precarious state of food systems as a whole has finally registered […]

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Innovating our way to oblivion

Out-of-control buzzwords are like locusts: you can swat handfuls of them down with a bat, but more will come to take their place. I’ve been swatting away for ages in this blog at all things Conceptual, Cultural, Clustered and (especially) Creative. But now we’re suffering a massive counter-attack by the word Innovation – 137 million […]

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Worship those worms

Readers of this blog will need no introduction to the Estonian bio-semiotician Jakob von Uexkull (1864-1944). Oh, you do? Go to the back of the class. Well, Tallinn Jake saw mind, body and context as inseparable, for all animals (including human ones) and he coined the word umwelt to describe the unity of an organism’s […]

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The big chill

Shopping for a snack in central London yesterday evening I counted an extraordinary 78 metres (256 feet) of chiller cabinets in one small central London branch of Marks and Spencer. Marks and Spencer have made a laudable commitment to make all it UK and Irish operations carbon neutral within five years. “We’ll maximise our use […]

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Who is afraid of local food?

In the October issue of Blueprint its editor Vicky Richardson’s accused Designs of the time (Dott 07) of secretly buying 10,000 pounds worth of fruit and vegetables when our Urban Farming project in Middlesbrough “did not generate adequate grub for the guests”. Vicky declined to name the greengrocer for whom Christmas came so early – […]

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