Building an appetite through experimentation: in 2016 Maker Faire Rome was not only to be visited, but “savoured”, too: introducing the “food area”, with the most delectable initiatives.
From 14 through 16 October, Pavilion 6 was home to the truly unmissable: the Maker Faire Rome Food Area, even bigger and more innovative, offering makers and the general public a vast array of events, conferences, workshops, laboratories, and projects destined to change the world of food, overseen by the Future Food Institute (FFI), the Bolognese trust dedicated to food and innovation.
Some examples? Automated greenhouses that can be managed with a click, 3D food printers, sensors for decoding the content of foods, plus special dishes like seaweed and insects that might just rock our culinary worlds. But innovation and technology literally came together where food is king: the kitchen!
15 international talents in the Food Innovation Program lead a series of experiments on the future of food “from Farm to Fork” at OffiCucina – a hybrid space between kitchen and workshop. Two Italian start-ups brought their latest-generation machinery to this unique location: joined by the Future Food Institute, MEG, a precision agriculture specialist, launched, inside two automated covered greenhouses linked to the Internet and open source software, the “Nitrati Zero” project that aims to drastically reduce the level of harmful nitrates in lettuce; The Algae Factory showed the curious a bioreactor for the production of alga spirulina, used to create chocolate bars and seaweed.
RESTAURANT OF THE FUTURE
Nor could we neglect the place of culinary encounter par excellence: at the Food Tech Jungle dining area, start-ups and food makers could test dishes prepared in a revolutionary manner, or with unusual products. The bar offered seaweed-based hamburgers, alga spirulina-flavoured chocolate bars, astronaut food, insects, 3D-printed cocktails, aperitifs created by mechanical bartenders, and innovative soft drinks.
This area was also dedicated to “show cooking” in which makers and chefs gave life to a high-level collaboration, presenting recipes in pursuit of just the right blend of tradition and innovation.
FOOD MAKERS STAND
Plenty of start-ups and innovators – including the winners of the “Call For Food Makers” – were be on hand at the Food Makers Stand. The whole gamut of the food innovation world was represented here, and there was the place where visitors learnt about the food of the future: for example discovering: rEVOilution, allowing you to consume express extra-virgin olive oil, fresh in every season and customized to your own tastes; the vertical vegetable garden project Orticale; if you had a sweet tooth, Mashcream which allows you to create customizable ice cream rolls that are quite tasty and strictly natural. People discovered how 3D technology applies to food through the portable version of By Flow. And there were more: Funghi Espresso, which uses coffee grounds to farm edible mushrooms; the precision fruit farming project Perfrutto, created to monitor the plants’ growth while seeing to their size and quantity; and Eskesso technology, the creator of an Internet-linked sous-vide tool. These were just some of the hundreds of surprising attractions you could find at Maker Faire Rome.
At Maker Faire Rome, food became a real phenomenon bringing people of all ages together: a host of new features and initiatives await the youngest visitors at the Kids Area (Pavilion 9).
10 appointments ranged from science to technology in the kitchen, designed specially for young makers. Thanks to the support of Sara Belloni, a mathematics and science instructor, and Alessandro Candiani, engineer and former researcher at Università di Parma, the youngest visitors played in the kitchen while learning food biology thanks to the We-LAB portable laboratory; with energy engineer Matteo Sanarico, they were able to discover the infinite chemical reactions that take place in the kitchen every day; lastly, with ArgoTech they had a taste of what the astronauts eat.
On 16 October, the final day of Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition 4.0, and on the occasion of UN World Food Day, two talks on food tech and ag-tech were organized in the Pavilion 10, involving high-level international guests speaking about the major challenges of a future in which technology will be at the service of people, feeding the planet in a more sustainable way.