Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

Made in Transit,
growing food
in a waste of time

July 10, 2007

Made in Transit, Agata Jaworska, masters thesis at the Design Academy Eindhoven 2007 (Man and Identity), mushrooms
Mushrooms of the future are grown in situ in transit

When it comes to the food supply, there’s a lot of waste to go around. Agata Jaworska, a recent masters graduate from the Design Academy Eindhoven, has designed a way to use the time and space associated with transportation to grow fresh produce. Jaworska analysed the supply chain of a mushroom, and through a systems intervention was able to eliminate all of the steps that were not productive. She turned the packaging + the freight truck + the normally wasted time and space into a mushroom farm, in a total supply chain redesign, merging production with distribution.



Made in Transit animation by Agata Jaworska and Seton Beggs used entirely with permission

Made in Transit, Agata Jaworska, masters thesis at the Design Academy Eindhoven 2007 (Man and Identity), mushrooms
Prototype bio-degradable packaging cum growing medium innoculated with fungi spores

In her thesis Jaworska points out that transportation is normally a dormant time for produce. The food becomes trapped inventory and a lot of energy must be spent keeping it fresh. This means that the distribution system must be fast and the environment must be cool. But freight trucks aren’t the least bit cool. In fact they generate a lot of warmth en route, and that warmth is just what a growing mushroom needs most aside from darkness. In the Made in Transit concept, the need to heat the cool environment of the traditional mushroom farm is eliminated and the warmth naturally produced by the transport vehicle is used to do the growing.

Made in Transit, Agata Jaworska, masters thesis at the Design Academy Eindhoven 2007 (Man and Identity), mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms of the future travelling first class, image by Agata Jaworska used with permission

Jaworska notes that what used to be simple packet distribution is now evolving into a completely new field. Her thesis is riddled with examples from companies like UPS, DHL, FedEx-Kinkos and the shipping company Maersk, that are becoming involved in the production of goods along the way, stepping outside the traditional boundaries of distribution.

The burning question is of course which commodities can best benefit from the Made in Transit concept. At the moment the (agricultural) University of Wageningen is chomping at the bit to develop this process further with Jaworska. In the dog-eat-dog world of Dutch mushroom farming, magically transforming freight trucks into (let’s just be na├»ve) organic mobile farms, eliminating the need for independent growing spaces and (ahem) labour, is nothing short of a paradigm shift.

debra at 16:43 | | post to del.icio.us

7 Comments »

  1. What a great idea. I would buy them. I would then know for sure that they were fresh. Yummy!

    Comment by Samantha — July 16, 2007 @ 18:51

  2. It’s genius, but I won’t eat them. That we no longer have forest enough to supply our surrounding towns with wild mushrooms is bad enough. So, mushroom farms are as far from source as I’ll go. At least, there they can still be grown in some sort of organic matter, if you have a grower who is tuned in to that sort of thing. But these plastic, lab medium, test tube babies are simply not the kind of information I want in my body. But it is creative. God, if only she spent her genius figuring out how to get our forests back instead…

    Comment by junglegirl — July 18, 2007 @ 6:42

  3. It is in fact the modern version of the way ships in the old days took their food: alive, to keep it fresh.

    Comment by Elz — July 18, 2007 @ 7:01

  4. Clever, clever idea. Of course, nothing beats enjoying locally-grown produce, but this could very well be the next best thing.

    Cheers!

    Comment by almost vegetarian — July 18, 2007 @ 17:29

  5. Certainly innovative from a production standpoint, but it doesn’t address the environmental issues associated with the commercial transport. Agree that purchasing locally grown produce is still the best way to go. Actually found a resource that lists some of the top Farmer’s markets in the country:
    http://www.wolfappliance.com/livingkitchen/lifestyle/topmarket.aspx

    Hope one is near you! Enjoy!

    Comment by Slint — July 20, 2007 @ 21:10

  6. hi there
    i live in England and interested in one of your gropack mushrooms but i couldn’t find any in the market, any recommendation if how can i get one will be appreciated .
    thanks

    Comment by bahram — July 21, 2010 @ 5:12

  7. Hi Bahram,

    These packs don’t yet exist. This was a prototype made by a student of the Design Academy Eindhoven n 2007.

    Warm regards,

    Debra

    Comment by Debra — July 21, 2010 @ 6:37


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