Library Element Book and Thesis

More-than-Human Food Futures Cookbook

Uploaded by RRI Tools on April 9, 2021
Last modified on April 9, 2021

Markéta Dolejšová, Sjef van Gaalen, Danielle Wilde, Hilary Davis & Ferran
Altarriba Bertran (2020). More-than-Human Food Futures Cookbook


This cookbook is founded on a two-day workshop—Experimental Food Design for Sustainable Futures—held online as part of the Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) conference in July 2020.

The workshop experimented with food as an accessible starting point from which to explore and articulate values, concerns, desires, and imaginaries associated with food-tech futures and climate resilience. Working remotely from our homes during the burgeoning pandemic, we co-designed scenarios and collages; engaged in foraging walk-shops around our kitchens, pantries and gardens; and proposed diverse imaginative approaches to nurture transformation towards sustainable futures.

Each workshop day focused on a distinct theme:

  • On day 1—Fantastic(e)ating Food Futures: Reimagining Human Food Interactions—we examined interdependencies between food, eating, and social practices, critically engaging with future flourishing through food-tech innovation.

  • On day 2— Designing with More-than-Human Food Practices for Climate Resilience—we focused specifically on more-than-human food practices and how they could be incorporated into food systems. The two workshop days were thematically intertwined and carefully designed to be complementary: the fantastic food future imaginaries co-created on day one laid the groundwork for our thinking about plausible more-than-human food practices on day two.


Increasingly, design researchers and their fellow travellers are coalescing around the sticky subject of food. They often come to the table with different tastes, priorities, cultural backgrounds and experiences. What they share is a commitment to commensality—fellowship at the table. Food is a fundamental human-material practice. Eating is necessary for life. Eating together enables people to forge social bonds, learn and consolidate culture—as individuals, families, social units—as a species. Eating at once shapes, and connects us
with, who we are. 

In this cookbook, we use experimental design research methods to activate food as a research subject, object, context; and as tangible bio-design material. Our objective is to imagine societal transformation collectively, and thereby better understand how to support profound and meaningful change. A cookbook is a traditional format. Personal cookbooks may be incomplete, hand-crafted, messy. They reflect the lives of their owners. Often humble, pragmatic instruments at their origins, they evolve with experience and use. In their fullness, they may contain trace efforts of joys, disappointments, wild interpretations, sadness, silliness, boredom, fun. Food is all of these things and through its nature, makes visible our place in the web of life.

We live in uncertain, urgent times. The recipes in this cookbook posit food as a powerful catalyst for change. They are not alone in doing so. EAT Lancet tells us: food is the single most robust lever to optimise human health and environmental sustainability on Earth (Willet et al. 2019). The human food system impacts all 17 of the UN's Sustainability Development Goals and all nine planetary boundaries (Steffen et al., 2015). Currently, it is damaging both people and the planet. In intergovernmental reports on sustainability, climate
change, biodiversity collapse and more, sobering statistics and grim projections make clear we must transform how we live. It follows that we must transform how we design. Victor Papanek (1972) stressed long ago that design is at the root of so many of the problems we face today. However, Design can also help us to respond constructively to issues; to re-infrastructure, as we reexamine our relationships within the web of life. Design's capacity for world-making can open up new imaginaries; enable people to interrogate their relationships and practices, envision the change they want to see.

The imaginaries in this cookbook are tasty gestures towards this world-making journey. During the workshops, the authors engaged in carefully designed, densely packed processes, and ate their way towards new understandings of human interactions in the world. Unlike recipes, the resulting imaginaries are not instruction sets. Instead, they are provocations—material, social, legislative, socio-technical and ecological invitations that reflect emerging
commitments across the research landscape.

Obsessions with food unfold on our screens; world-leading chefs are livingroom gods; amateurs strut alongside them. Locked inside our houses during COVID-19, the privileged mimic the less-so, making sourdough, pickles and ferments. It seems easy for those in the Global North to occlude other understandings of issues. But we cannot allow this to happen. The food system is shaping our todays and our tomorrows. Food is sensual and meaningful; can be cheeky and fun, as well as nutritious (or not). The ideas herein reflect that heterogeneity. They propose the ubiquity of food to create space for other voices. As Levinas tells us "Knowledge requires ... an openness to something new, something foreign, something totally other beyond the self." (Levinas, 1979). Please enjoy our tasting menu.



  • Introduction  - Markéta Dolejšová
  • Reflection - Danielle Wilde
  • Fantastic(e)ating Food Futures: Reimagining Human-food Interactions  - Hilary Davis, Danielle Wilde, Ferran Altarriba Bertran & Markéta Dolejšová
    • Nutritious Dating ~ Flourishing - Amala, Anna Lychagina, Danielle Wilde, Mia Shu, & Tom Gayler
    • Cannibalistic Pickn’ick’ for Homo Sapiens - Lara Houston, Sebastian Prost, Sneha Solanki, Steph Marsden & Urja Jhaveri
    • Food Waste Glam - Ann Light, Deborah, Iben & Sandra van der Hel
    • IntrosPicnic - Allan Gomes, Ferran Altarriba Bertran, Hilary Davis, Iryna Karaush & Xinyi Li
    • Cheese Bored? Reimagining a Cheesy Picnic Speed-date - Aditi, Geethika, Hilary Davis, Jonathan C & Marie Nowak
    • Companions Picnic - Laura Fähndrich, Markéta Dolejšová, Michelle Lai Jingmin, Sjösjuk sjöman & Yoram Chisik
  • Designing With More-than-Human Food Practices For Climate Resilience - Markéta Dolejšová, Sjef van Gaalen, Danielle Wilde, Paul Graham Raven, Sara Heitlinger & Ann Light
    • The Good, The Bad and The Invasive - Åsa Ståhl, Deborah, Kristina Lindström, Li Jönsson, Mia Shu, Sandra van der Hel & Sneha Solanki
    • What Would Food Policy Look Like if it was Made by Slugs? - Lara Houston, Marie Nowak, Sjef van Gaalen, Sjösjuk sjöman & Tom Gayler
    • Less Than Human? - Amala, Geethika, Iben, Paul Graham Raven & Urja Jhaveri
    • Chicken or Egg? - Aditi, Danielle Wilde, Iryna Karaush, Laura Fähndrich & Yoram Chisik
    • More-Than-Human Dreaming - Ann Light, Anna Lychagina, Markéta Dolejšová, Sebastian Prost, Steph Marsden & Xinyi Li
  • Digestif 








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