For decades the dominant mentality in the AgriFood sector was to produce as much as possible and to do that in the most efficient way. This resulted in all sorts of negative side effects on health and wellbeing for both humans and animals. In our project Less +1 we are looking for possible strategies to produce less and at the same time increase the value and joy in food. In search for the unexpected ingredients (the +1’s)!

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Awkward introduction Tabo Goudswaard

We as the designers of this Less+1 project would like to introduce ourselves. For an introduction a picture is useful and a picture of us eating is logical. But eating pictures are often a bit awkward… so here’s our awkward introduction:

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Artist/Social designer Tabo Goudswaard leads Studio Goudswaard. The studio designs new ways of looking at social problems. It seeks to connect with people’s everyday behaviour and designs new concrete perspectives for taking action, which is both shared with participants and produced together with them. It is the conviction of Studio Goudswaard that designers and artists can play a crucial role in shaping societies.Tabo Goudswaard was appointed as intendant for The Art of Impact, an impuls- and researchprogramme for artprojects with societal impact initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the six National Art Foundations. He initiated and was the leader of SOCIALDESIGNFORWICKEDPROBLEMS, a public researchprogramme on how artists and designers can use their knowledge and skills to have impact on social problems.


Visiting Stadstuinderij Piushaven

On the 5th of April we went to Tillburg in Stadstuinderij, a community and organic garden existing thanks to the work of volunteers from different backgrounds (neighbors, day-volonteers, persons with handicaps…) The flexible organization of the garden makes it work so well. Volunteers subscribe for a number of hours per week and come whenever suits them best. They are free to take products from the garden for their own consumptions, the rest is sold in a shop at the entrance of the garden, together with plants, seeds, locally produced honey, beer and soap.

Cola kruid

The gardeners also have precise commands from the neighbor restaurants; they provide them with specific herbs, such as the cola plant (that taste exactly like…coca-cola, obviously!). Which give them several sources of income. They also let a space free for educational purposes and are known by school kids and their families ; soon a space for experimental agriculture will complete the panel. The garden bought two pigs and had them grown ; in May they will be slaughtered and volunteers will help packaging the meat : getting to know the entire cycle of meat consumption.

The garden really is a community garden, a place where people get to know each other, and feel responsible. There are benches and table to take tea or have barbecue outside; those are made by a volunteer in the wood workshop, as well as recycled rocking toys for children. Every wednesday a group a volunteer come together and prepare lunch with the product of the farms. That moment is a solution to both tiny wallet and solitude.

All in all, this garden gave us a sense of freedom : a place with a strong sense of localness, a place confident enough to follow its internal compass and be opened to unexpected connection, which makes it a working model.

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Awkward introduction Cecile Espinasse

Designer-artist (to become) Cecile Espinasse wants to design richer eating experiences that are able to empower the eater. She uses her emotions and senses to better understand the topic, and she is willing to help people focusing on their own. Therefore she likes to research in specific context where she can be present. Cecile Espinasse was born in France and studied applied and
fine art there for 2 years. She is now student in Design Academy Eindhoven, and specialize in the domain of food.

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Visiting the farms of Henri van den Boomen, Rob Denissen and Martijn van Overveld.

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Inspiration

Less + Uniqueness

The miracauous, the amazing, the unique is always atractive to people.

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Recipes for Value: LESS+attention
Lick the carrot!

For? Consumers
How long? Take your time
Where? On a quiet place
What? A Beautiful Carrot

Steps
– Take a carrot
– Put on your headphones
– Relax and start this audiotrack on your device
– Follow the instructions

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Inspiration

Less + Contemplation

Once you are aware of everything that has been done, all the people that have been involved to produce the food, your appreciation for the food will grow. Also the insight that the food has not always been and still is not always accessable for everyone in the world increases the value.

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Interview Arne Hendriks

On the 3rd of May we had the chance to speak to artist Arne Hendriks concerning our project.

We gave the example of the apple pie, which is much more valuable when done by your grandmother, than bought in the supermarket. He suggested we find a grandmother for every products.

He explained that  everything on the market is done according to the rule of fashion : instead of making people happy with what they have, making people unhappy of what they don’t have and therefore keeping them in the loop of consumption. For food it is slightly different, since we have to keep eating and buying food in order to survive, however one can see the same mechanism with every new trendy food product. In a very cynical way, farmers could live on economically speaking by entering this way of thinking, and keep creating new needs for their products, changing them or their story slightly each new season.

But we all agreed that money is not value in itself, and our project is not about making food product more expensive and pushing the production fever further on.

For him, we have somehow lost our sensitivity towards our environment. Value, he said, stand in the tension between having and not having. In our societies, we don’t have this « not having » anymore, and that is one of the reason we are becoming insensitive.

(A more detailed report of this interview will be published later)

Arne-Hendriks


Awkward introduction Bich Quang Tran

Third designer of the team is Bich. He’s from Austria and also a student at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Here he’s checking the video of Martijn he made in preparation of a workshop at Foodpolicy’s Outbreak at ABN AMRO.

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Recipes for Value: LESS+trust
Certify it!

For? Retaillers
How long? Always
Where? Unimportant
What? Unimportant

Steps
– Choose a product
– Communicate on an surprising aspect which you guarantee that did not took place in the production process (but might happen in production processes of similar products).
– Create the non-label

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Prototype 1 – Henri Be Good

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Henri van den Boomen was charmed by the idea of buying a product and doing good (+1) at the same time. So he increased the price of the eggs he is selling from his farm and in return the consumer is able to make choose the ‘good action’ Henri will do.Henri be good poster final

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Recipes for Value: LESS+solutions
New problems, new solutions!

For? Retailers
How long? Always
Where? Unimportant
What? Related to general human fears

Steps
– Choose your product
– Find, choose or create a problem.
– Which adjustments need to be made to the product in order to provide a solution for a problem?
– Emphasize the urgency of the problem. Make the problem as big as possible
– Present your product as the ultimate solution for that problem.

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workshop in HAP

On the 3rd of May we held a workshop in Het Amsterdamse Proeflokaal, together with professionals from different fields as policy makers, social entrepreneurs, designers, curators… (Foodhub, Food Cabinet) in Het Amsterdamse Proeflokaal. After a brief tour of the place, that promises to be buzzling with food innovation and education, we gave an introduction to our research and new way of looking. With this lens in mind, we were able to look at personal experiences and extract potential ingredients. Reframing allowed us to put those ingredient in a more general concept and came up with inspiring recipes that are accessible for everyone.

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Prototype 2 – Thank You Cards Rob Denissen

Rob liked the idea of contemplation (+1) of his customers about all the things needed in order to produce a bottle of milk. So he decided to test the Thank You cards. On the cards all the people (and animals) in the personal network of Rob that contribute to the production process are highlighted with a picture, an anecdote and some background information. Off course you can collect them all, but you can also return the card with a personal message saying Thank You!

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Recipes for Value: LESS+DIY
Get your hands dirty

For? Retailers, Producers
How long? Always
Where ? Unimportant
What? Unimportant

Steps
– Create a product which is unfinished
– Think of ways how the consumer can put his/her own effort in the production process (think in terms of instructions/manuals/recipes/assignments).
– Make sure that effort is rewarding (flower bulbs, respectfull, mediagenic)

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Recipes for Value: LESS +longing
Create luxury!

For? all consumers
How long? several weeks
Where? Unimportant
What? Daily food of your choice.

Steps
– Choose a product that you usually eat.
– Stop eating it for at least a week.
– After the set time, eat it again.
– Repeat when you got used to it again.

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Interview Marije Vogelzang
Eating designer, head of the Food/Non-food department of Design Academy Eindhoven and curator of the Food Embassy (Looking back to now) in the upcoming World Design Expo.

‘We have a very distant way of dealing with things’, she said. ‘We trust texts and visuals too much’.  ‘Food has a submerging quality since it becomes part of one’s body’. Her project EAT LOVE BUDAPEST relies on feeding to transmit both food and stories of immigrated women to other members of society.

She told us about her fascination for the placebo effect. Take a very cheap painkiller, package it in a fancy way and sell it expensive: people will really be able to let their arms in icy water for longer. Illusion becomes reality.

Marije collected the tap water from all provinces, allowing people to taste and recognize the different flavors each water had. She made children forget that they are eating vegetables by asking them to shape the veggies into jewelry with their teeth. So that their taste buds get used to the flavors.

Her strategy is to transform big, abstract topics to small, tangible, sensible things that we can bring home. And the good thing is that this does not ask for expensive or difficult changes.

We leave you with that optimistic remark from Marije. We hope to talk to her again and publish a more detailed transcript of our talks for you.

If you want to know more about Marije Vogelzang : http://marijevogelzang.nl

marije vogelenzang


Prototype 3 – Sweet Potatoes Martijn van Overveld

Martijn van Overveld produces potatoes that are not accessibel for consumers. In a short period of time the potatoes are very sweet and delicious to consume. He is offering a small amount of his harvest this year for consumers. You are able to get access to it through an auction which is facilitated here.

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