food4future - food for the future

"No land" and "No Trade"

A rapidly growing global population already challenges us to ensure a sufficient nutrition for everyone. Resource depletion, climate change, land degradation and geopolitical instablities are global drivers of transformation, so present agricultural systems are no longer ecologically, economically and socially sustainable. 
food4future builds on two extreme scenarios: "No Land" and "No Trade".

The Vision

Long-term objective of this consortium is to ensure a healthy and personalized diet for an all-encompassing resilient society. The vision of the “agricultural systems of the future” developed by food4future takes into account the increasing urbanization and limitation of fresh water as well as the depletion of conventional agricultural land. The aim is to achieve a sustainable and flexible agricultural production in urban areas - ranging from self-producer to urban planning dimensions in order to keep value chains and routes short.
These urban production areas shall not compete with already limited living space, but rather make use of disused sites, such as closed down (industrial) facilities or areas along transport routes. In addition, food4future develops biological production systems for organism groups tolerating saline conditions, which are not commonly used as a source of nutritionally valuable raw material for innovative food products. For the purpose of a holistic approach, the target group of food production, namely consumers and their nutritional status, is also taken into account. The individual nutrient supply is ensured by means of a smart nutrition approach.

The food4future approach

food4future specifically links key technologies for the establishment of alternative production systems: (UV)LEDs and innovative composite lightweight materials are applied to develop modular and multifunctional compartments to be used in an urban setting. These "Urban Bio Spaces" are employed to cultivate four types of organisms as a source of raw material for human nutrition in saline conditions. Macro algae, halophytes (salt tolerant plants), jellyfish (medusae) and crickets are used to sustainably produce biomass in artificial closed systems in single or co-cultivation, and are optimized in their nutrient composition by targeted UV-irradiation. Their co-cultivation allows a cascade use of the invested resources. Non-invasive sensors record the individual nutritional status of consumers. The captured data is then integrated in a health app by means of machine learning (artificial intelligence) and coupled with individual nutritional suggestions. Moreover, food4future analyses the social impact of two extreme scenarios on the food system. By interaction of "No Land" and "No Trade" the extreme change in the production of food itself becomes a driver of transformation. Therefore, the consortium also considers endogenously induced changes of the food system and associated social structures. Their manifestation continues to shape nutrition and our social interaction.