It isn’t really a plant, it isn’t moss, it isn’t an insect but it could be the future of food

Lichen, a cryptogram or type of plant, can be made in several tasty ways. So why aren’t we eating it?
Posted 10 Dec 18 By Design Indaba Duration: 00:10:29 Food Design Creative Work / Next Generation Comments

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There are thousands of species of lichen. They grow on trees, the walls, the ground - where ever conditions are most favourable. And now, as we think of and experiment with a variety alternative food types in light of climate change, graduate designer Julia Schwarz says more can be done with this overlooked, always growing cryptogram.

Could we live off this wild organism? This question sparked Schwarz’s journey. Meeting with mossologists and other people in specialised fields, she found that through time, people had indeed turned to lichen as a source of food. The organism is even so resilient that it can live on Mars. So what changed?

She found that for the most part, it didn’t taste good. Tweaking ancient recipes to suit our modern palates, she created a lichen-based menu to give us some insight into what we may see on our plates years from now once we’ve depleted or moved away from our current lunchtime favourites.

Or maybe, it’ll be the first menu on Mars if Elon Musk gets his way.

Schwarz was one of 20 graduates curated by Design Indaba to participate in the annual antenna Conference. Co-produced and hosted by Dutch Design Week, the conference brings together students who are reimagining the way we live today for a better existence tomorrow.

Whet your appetite with Schwarz’s talk above, before moving on to more innovative creations from antenna 2018:

Turning refugee bunkers into privacy pods using minimalist design

Meet the design graduate who created her own coffin

Understanding #MeToo with machine learning