Our food will mostly be made from ingredients that can be found in nature, like plantains, wheat, sweet potatoes, and more. One interesting biomimicry application is ANSA- the Autonomous Nutrient Supply Alternative. While this project doesn’t exactly relate to ours, it’s an interesting concept. The team members realized that food insecurity is a prominent issue in developing countries, so they tried to solve problems of lack of space, water, low-quality soil, limited food accessibility, and high cost of nutritious foods all in one product. They used cyanobacteria as their model and tried to mimic its ability to produce its own food by designing a multi compartmental growing space with solar powered LED lights for crops. One of the team members explained, “In nature there is no waste. Waste becomes nutrients for other organisms to thrive … We’re trying to propel the (food) system into a closed-loop cycle.” ANSA does so by providing healthy and organic food to populations with limited resources and a high demand for food by changing the way they grow crops. This translates to our project because we also want to minimize waste in the packaging of our material and in the manufacturing process for both cost and environmental purposes.
The Life Principle of being locally tuned and responsive relates to our malnutrition project. It is very important that our food product is made with local materials and local resources and that it follows local regulations and customs. Our future food and its packaging will be sourced and produced by resources in Sierra Leone. This will make for a more efficient supply chain and minimization of energy consumption. We hope to locally source every ingredient, but there is the possibility that we will need to outsource the supplemental vitamins for our product. Sierra Leone has the Pharmacy Board, a comparable organization to the FDA. Our product would need to be evaluated to ensure that it is safe for human consumption.
Our product will be as organic and natural as possible. While this is an important concept to our project, it is also important that we do not sacrifice nutrition, cost, and ease of use for solely technical and biological nutrients as described in the Cradle to Cradle Design Concept. We were originally thinking of a dried porridge material distributed in single-use packaging. We wanted to create an environmentally-friendly, easy-to-use packaging, but now we are considering other options for both packaging and the recipe. We have been looking into packaging materials that would allow us to instantly heat the porridge or instantly add water. These could potentially be reusable dishes or packages that would minimize our impact on the environment.
Different cultures and countries have cool customs that could be completely alien to people only visiting. For example, when I visited Spain, I had heard about siestas and the different eating times, but I did not realize how different it would really be. I went from eating a very early dinner at home (around 5pm) to eating at 10 o’clock at night. Every meal was pushed later into the day, where people would eat lunch around the time of their siesta (around 2pm) so they weren’t hungry before dinner. This is another concept that is completely unrelated to our project, but it indicates how things that are completely normal in one culture can be a foreign concept to another. We have tried to keep this in mind when designing out product. The cultural implications and whether or not people would actually like or want to use our product have helped us make all of our decisions.