Our Experience at one of the greatest Show and Tell On Earth

Come and learn something new! Or a lot of things. A new edition of Maker Faire Bay Area took place last weekend in San Mateo. For first time in USA, Makers Faire partnered with Future Food Institute to show creative projects and innovations about food.

Food is essential for the human being but it is also a creation and a way to connect with each other. Experimenting with different ingredients, tastes and textures is a daily creation: we are all makers whenever it refers to produce a meal.

Food has its own glossary and that is what the Lexicon of Food and his founder Douglas Gayeton are trying to achieve: storytelling to move our societies towards “good food”, a way of producing and consuming that not only focuses on what we are eating but also looking at a broader environment.  Using the criteria of impact and innovation, Regrained, a young emerging company focused on making snacks out of beer spare grain, was awarded with a personalized infographic by Douglas.

One way of doing it is by realising that an apple doesn’t need to look like the Snow White one to be edible. In the 140 square meter dedicated to the Future Food, Imperfect Produce was showing visitors that fruits and vegetables do not need to look perfect to be edible: one in five fruits and veggies get tossed for not being pretty while they are perfectly edible.  Another start up in the area, Ugly Juice is also working in this space: as its name states, they are producing juices out of ugly produces in order to to waste them.

“Slimy yet satisfying” – that is what many of us think about eating bugs. A good source of protein, bugs are starting to be seen more and more as food. To avoid its slimy, companies such as Don Bugito and Bitty Foods are making them crunchy and more tasty: offering them in a form of snack.

“I am going to try it with my classroom” explained a teacher while buying a bag of Don Bugito snacks, “Let’s see what my 8th grade students think about this”.  And it might still not be a tasteful dish for some people, but what it was a fact is that during the Faire, children were really excited about that and as well as adults. It seems that eventually a psychological paradigm is shifting.

More “usual” snacks were bars like Zego, gluten and allergen free snacks with a tracking technology that allows all of us to know more about what we are eating. Another great “traditional” food was chocolate from Dandelion, a San Francisco based company producing chocolate in small batches. Cynthia, brought to Maker Faire Bay Area all the equipment to produce chocolate: the purpose was to show how easy it is. We just need cocoa beans and sugar – nothing more!

Innovation is not only related to what we eat but also to what we produce. The Future of Food Area included also companies working towards a more efficient food production by saving water (Green Sky Vertical), allowing everybody to grow food indoor (Local Greens, Back to the Roots, Hamama, Root) and even eating a toast with 3D printed cream cheese (ByFlow).

“It is the first time I am coming to Maker Faire and I really like it because there’s everything: food, technology, art…” said a student from The College Preparatory School, in Oakland. “It is amazing to have the chance to check new makers, technologies and innovative projects”.

And from this year, not only robotics and electronics but also one of our oldest creations on Earth: food.

 

This article has been written by Ana Galán Herranz from Startup Embassy, a Palo Alto based community supporting entrepreneurship in the Bay Area.