Today, we purchase loads of food from the supermarket and store it in our fridge. However, a big proportion of this food is thrown away in the end. Much of it’s stored in the back of the fridge and forgotten, but 35% of the food is simply wasted because they expired. And this is repeated every time we shop. The life we live may be convenient, but we cannot deny the fact that it’s not sustainable at all. We need to make a change and this is how I’m hoping to solve it.
Is there a more sustainable way of living?
Certainly, and it’s called farming! We have lived like this for thousands of years and it has proven to be very successful. I used to live with my grandaunt when I was a child. She owned some land and was able to fully sustain her life in that way. I still remember how delicious her fruits and vegetables were, but it’s something I’ll never experience nowadays.
My grandaunt’s farm was actually the reason why I designed the Domestic Food Center- DFC. It’s a design that brings the whole farming process into your house; not just the form, but the whole energy recycle system. It is a new design that can completely replace your traditional fridge!
The Domestic Food Center
The DFC consists of three main parts; the green house growing region, the vacuum storage region and the Bukashi compost region.
The growing region
Storing all your food in the back or in corner of your fridge, layer by layer, isn’t really the best idea. It is more like hiding your food rather than storing it. Also, for many vegetables like cabbages and onions, keeping them in a fridge will actually accelerate the rotting process. Instead, with sufficient nutrition, water and sunlight, you can not only grow or preserve your own vegetables and fruits for a long time, but also be able to re-use most of the leftovers. For example, a small piece of potato or onion can become a complete plant again in less than two weeks.
The Bukashi compost region
The bottom part is the Bukashi compost region. Planting food requires a lot of fertilizer to provide necessary nutrition. Since you can find most of the nutrition from the organic matter, you can use the leftovers and transform them into compost. The problem with traditional compost is the long process time and the terrible smell. But with the help of Bukashi, an anaerobic fermentation matter, the compost process of the food could be completed in a fast (minimum 2 weeks) and odourless process. Therefore we can both recycle all the leftover foods as well as provide fertilizer constantly.
The vacuum storage region
The third part is the vacuum storage region. The main method the traditional fridge preserves food, is to keep a cold environment. This lowers the activities of the bacterium. Nevertheless, the bacterias still exist and will eventually decompose the food. A sealed vacuum area enables you to preserve your food, like meat and fish, in a bacteria free environment. Vacuum storage keeps your food fresh for a really long time.
Creating an awareness around food
The Domestic Food Center is not just about saving money or providing better food. The main target is to introduce the energy recycle system to people and change their whole perspective on food. We have to understand that the value of food is not just the money we spend, but the energy flow and the life itself. Many people no longer know how to grow tomatoes! Only by knowing the true value of your food, we can create a more sustainable life on a more fundamental level.
Kan Chen is an up-and-coming student at AHO (The Oslo School of Architecture and Design). His Domestic Food Center – DFC won the prize for sustainable design. Halogen is a proud sponsor of this category.