food systems & design

Fish systems and design

A grim new film, The End of the Line, reveals the impact of overfishing on our oceans. It exposes the extent to which global stocks of fish are dwindling; features scientists who warn we could see the end of most seafood by 2048; and includes chefs and fishers who seem indiferent to the ecocidal consequences […]

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How much is a school garden worth?

One in nine Americans already relies on federal food stamps to help buy groceries – a startling number that will grow as unemployment rises. At the same time, medical spending on obesity – a major cause of diabetes, stroke and heart attacks – reached $147 billion in 2008, an 87 percent increase in a decade. […]

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From permaculture punks to anaerobic digesters

I came across a fascinating essay about permaculture and energy descent in Mexico that introduces me for the first time to the existence of so-called permaculture punks in Mexico City. Its author, Holger Hieronimi, has spent the last seven years developing a permaculture based homestead there- so he knows the difference between theory and practise. […]

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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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