creating foods of the future
We detail designs for a future in which everyone has enough good food to eat, and planets are nourished, not ravaged, to produce it.
The Toronto Office Markets was our first experiment. It ran for 18 months from 2011 to 2012. TOM sought to make buying local food convenient while opening new distribution channels for local producers shut out by the ever-growing supermarket chains. TOMs appeared in banks, office building lobbies, business park courtyards and downtown church grounds. Today, Toronto is served by a variety of local food markets of all sizes and in settings throughout the city.
Our second initiative was the Future Food Salon. The first Future Food salon took place in 2011 in Toronto, and since then salons have been hosted in New York, Montreal, Austin and dinners related to the salons have been hosted in Montreal and New York.
The first series explored mealworms and featured opera and a talk by mealworm cultivator and cook, Abigale Miller. "Crickets on the Tip of my Tongue", the second Future Food Salon series, was a multimedia collaboration of happenings and tastings that toured Toronto, New York, Austin, and Montreal. The third and fourth series are in research and development and explore the possibilities of fungi, algae and cultured foods.
The Toronto Office Markets led us to an appreciation of a lack of commercial kitchen space, and so we run the Hot Kitchens initiative including listings to help food start-ups find commercial kitchens that rent by the hour.
The series Taste Labs didn't take hold on its first outing. This series features a close exploration of tastes with a view to encouraging home cooking and experimentation. The series has not been binned but rather shelved.
Food waste from above? What does that mean? Hehe. Coming soon!
At Alimentary we've collaborated with museums and galleries, like the Montreal’s Space for Life Insectarium with whom we co-hosted North America's first international conference on edible insects, Eating Innovation Conference: the art, culture, science and business of entomophagy. We've worked with single proprietor food start-ups who joined the Toronto Office Markets, selling locally grown produce or regionally made cheeses. We collaborate with artists and writers, architects and inventors, scientists, sociologists, musicians, farmers and chefs. We'd love to hear from you.
About the image:
I love this image. To me, it holds promise in its folds. I love foods that are wrapped and that need revealing. Little presents are ravioli, spring rolls, vine rolls, samosas…happily, the list goes on and on. I love the surprise that's hidden from view by the wrapper; the delight of opening it or biting into it; the excitement of the contrasting textures, temperatures, and tastes of the contents and the shell. I am convinced that food tastes better when it is treasured, and wrapped things feel like treasures to me. The image is a detail of a sculpture called Chrysalis by artists Marjan Verstappen and Han Zhang. The piece was the anchoring artwork of the Discovery Gallery exhibition at Eating Innovation 2014, a conference and set of gatherings, which explored the art, culture, science and business of entomophagy. More images of the sculpture and of the conference are available here.
–Aruna Antonella Handa
(photo: Han Zhang 2014. Detail of Chrysalis, by Marjan Verstappen & Han Zhang.)