The Museum of Design Atlanta is exhibiting a behind-the-scenes look at the food industry and future projects that make it more sustainable.

The Midtown museum will run “Food by Design: Sustaining the Future” through May 7.

“The goal of this exhibit is to highlight the many innovative designs and promising solutions to the unique set of problems facing the urban environment that the current food system does not adequately address,” said Janelle Miniter, the museum’s exhibitions manager.

On display are “the many ways that the design process is being used to make our food system more healthful, more environmentally sustainable and accessible to more people,” said Laura Flusche, the museum’s executive director and curator.

About 50 projects are being prototyped and tested by designers, scientists, policy makers, engineers, farmers, grocers, innovators, foodies and health care professionals, said Flusche, to increase food security, minimize food transport, decrease food waste and provide the nation with information to make better decisions about what we buy and what we eat.

One of the many purposes of the exhibit, which opened Jan. 25, is to show the process of getting food to people and the massive infrastructure it currently involves. The exhibit includes the display of advanced technologies and dynamic systems that are present in practically every aspect of our lives.

It could have a profound impact in the way residents see the American food industry and how it needs to change to make it more efficient and balanced.

“The U.S. food system needs to be redesigned and revolutionized to make it more healthful, sustainable, equitable and efficient,” said Flusche. “But, the system is so vast and multifaceted that no single person, company or organization will be able to effect change from farm to fork.”

In order to meet those challenges, “A great number of individuals and organizations are designing and testing fascinating and innovative ways to improve the system for individuals, communities and specific industries,” she said.

Eating local is only a small part of the exhibition, while the main focus is on sustainability, said Miniter.

“Unless we understand the challenges we face, we cannot make change,” said Flusche.

Here those challenges are presented giving the spectator a broader perspective of the food industry such as lack of access to health food, a great deal of wasted food, long transport distances for food, and also presents some of the innovative ways individuals and organizations are designing and working on to solve issues.

“Viewers will come away informed and inspired by the innovations being implemented not only in the city of Atlanta but worldwide. Hopefully, they will become active participants by adapting these ideas and solutions to their environment,” Miniter said.

On display are projects that consist of reclaiming and utilizing unused space to grow food, eliminate the use of pesticides, minimize food waste, limit the negative environmental effects of food transportation and make food access more equitable, she said. Other projects featured discuss alternative food sources such as cellular agriculture and alternative innovations to the grocery store models.

The museum discusses the inefficiencies of the food system, said Miniter, as the catalyst for the innovative design projects that challenge the status quo of today’s food system.


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