Assignment 1

Preparatory, Assignment  1 a + b
Week 26-­32 (Jun 11 ‐ Aug 6)

Update 2018.02.19 Next update March 1 

 John Thackara:  Click on these:  Readings by John   Thackara How_to_Thrive in the Next Economy _Press_

Annika Göran Rodell: Go to Presencing Institutes homepage  and look at the links: Theory U, on the  left column click on Executive Summaries and Principles. See also from Ego-system to Eco-system Economies     

Cheryl Akner Koler: Please read this article Integrating Sensitizing Labs in an Educational Design Process for Haptic Interaction

Assignment 1  is conducted at a distance. Students should do the work individually at their own pace, wherever they are, submitting Assignment 1 digitally on the due dates.

The work for Assignment 1 consists of 2 parts:

(1a) Introduce yourself! asap! DUE Tuesday  Aug 6th  17:00 CET

(1b)  local Food System poster/map DUE Sunday  Aug 6th  17:00 CET

(1a) Introduce yourself 

This information about you is to help us address your interests for the Workshop Week.

  • Download this word document: Introduce-yourself
  • Fill in the form and send it to Email:  
  • DUE Tuesday Aug 6th   17:00 CET

(1b) Prepare your local Food System poster

Watch the introductory video-talks by John Thackara

In Assignment  1b you should describe the steps by which you would embark on a Back To The Land 2.0 relationship through mapping a local food system. In a poster / map format, describe the links needed to make new city-rural connections happen – based on where you live, study, or work.

  • The format is a poster A3 page (max 3 mb)  – put your name on the page!  For more inspiration to posters see, Pinterest 
  • Email the poster to:  
  • DUE Sunday August 6  17:00 CET

To start the assignment, choose a food system that is personal and local to you! ‘Local’ could refer to the region, culture or home.

This poster should:

  • show the geographical area  with the key people, locations, activities & ecological systems in your local area
  • show how key actors in the food system are connected  to each other now (- or not) and who is involved producing, consuming, creating, profiting, care-taking, preserving, etc.
  • show the relationships between actors (and places) you will add, or improve, by design
  • show what infrastructures and systems are involved, how do they work
  • include a tweet (including hashtags) to be used to launch the poster.

Inspiration for this poster :

Finally – Once you have completed Assignment 1b and sent the poster,  take some time to reflect on what you have found most meaningful in this work. What is the most important question you are holding at this moment? (What has surprised you and where do feel resistance.)

To hand in your assignment, email: The teaching team will print your A3 PDF and bring it to the Workshop Week, where you will also present orally. You will share this during course  introduction.


END of Assignment 1


Extra references for video-talks by John Thackara

NOTE: References below are from John’s video-talks, however we suggest you watch the above three first and reflect on what you have seen.

More references can be found on  John’s twitter

28 Ways In Which Food Systems Are a Design Opportunity

It Starts With The Soils, by James Merryweather Ninety-nine percent of all food comes from our soils. As home to an enormous variety of organisms – from bacteria, to mammals – soil health determines the metabolic health of all terrestrial ecosystems. See: Living Soil Forum Sweden

Agroecology Agricultural strategies of the past century consistently substituted industrial inputs for biological processes.Underexploited ecological and social opportunities hold promise for a more broadly beneficent agriculture.

Thinking Like A Forest, by James Drescher If maintaining the fertility of the soil is a core principle of ecological agriculture, so, too, is a commitment to think in longer time frames than markets – or even than individual human lifespans. We need to think like a forest.

Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives, by Carolyn Steele  The gargantuan effort needed to feed cities across the world on a daily basis has a massive and vastly under appreciated social and physical impact on people and the planet.

World Hunger: 12 Myths, by Francis Moore Lappé It is a myth that “there is not enough food” – and 11 other myths.

The Food-Commons Transition, Jose Luis Vivero Pol Treating food as a purely private good is denying millions of people access to this basic resource. Food should therefore be seen as a commons or public good. It could then be produced and distributed more effectively by a governance system combining market rules, public regulations and collective actions.

AgoBioDiverse Newsletter A treasure trove of stories,. edited by two biodiversity professionals who can also write – about the people and organizations that promote more agrobiodiversity.

Open Source Seed Initiative Diversity is the very building block of evolution and adaptation – but the story of seed has become one of loss, control, dependence and debt. It’s time to change the story. These guys have started to do that. +subscribers&utm_campaign=8e3f29830b- RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_949cf01306-8e3f29830b-44963957 …

Bioregionalism, by Raymond Dassmann If people were allowed to sort themselves out rationally, a new array of ethnobiotic entities would take the place of nation states. Bioregionalism recognizes, nurtures, sustains and celebrates local connections with: Land, Plants and Animals, Springs, Rivers, Lakes, Groundwater & Oceans, Air, Families, Friends, Neighbors, Community, Native Traditions and Indigenous Systems of Production & Trade.

The Food Commons People go hungry not because of a shortage of production, but because the food available is too expensive, or they lack the land to grow it on. In California, the prototype of a combined social, political and technical solution has been launched which promises to unlock the food system crisis.

Small picture…

Nature’s Internet, by Paul Stamets In an old-growth forest, a handful of soil also contains millions of super-delicate mycorrhizal fungi. Linked together with the roots of plants, mycorrhiza form vast subsoil networks – ‘nature’s internet’ – in which mind- bogglingly complex interactions support the flora and food webs upon which we all rely for our existence. This vast, invisible web does more than ferry water and nutrients; it also enables long distance communication between plants. microbiomes_at_the_roots_a_new_look_at_forest_ecology/2699/ …

City As Biotope: Appearing and Disappearing Landscapes A group of architecture and design students were challenged: what is the tiniest example of biological activity youcanfindinthisapparentlyemptylandscape?

The Region As Mosaic How is a region to make sense of the myriad proposals being made for its future by artists, activists, and designers? Here is one way:

Lab For Microclimates The Laboratory of Microclimates, a project of the Dutch artist Annechien Meier, brings social and ecological surroundings to peoples’ attention.

Design and service innovation opportunities…

Agroecology, by P2P Foundation Agroecological practices require public goods such as extension services; storage facilities; rural infrastructure (roads, electricity, and information and communication technologies) for access to regional and local markets; credit and insurance against weather-related risks; agricultural research and development; education; and support to farmers’ organizations and cooperatives. Six_Proposed_Policy_Principles_for_Scaling_Up_Agroecology

Turn-key Food Hives (La Ruche Qui Dit Oui) “We see our supporters not as donors, but as social investors with a return on the investment being, not in cash, but in social, economic, and ecological benefits to society at large”.

From Farmers Markets to Local Food Hubs We need a system of local food hubs that can process and bundle local foods and “deliver them to the places where America eats”. The question arises: Value-added – by intermediaries, or by communities? or both?

Community Supported Baking Regional-scale ‘grain sheds’ are being recreated thanks to a proliferation of Community Supported Baking (CSB) schemes. …

‘Blended value’ at London’s Peoples Supermarket The People’s Supermarket is a cooperative, for-profit convenience store with a strong ethical mission. This text answers questions like: ‘How does The People’s Supermarket operate?’ ‘How can you find and secure the right premises?’ How do you attract members, stock the shop, organise an effective product offer and keep the momentum going?

Farm Path (EU) Agroecological practices require public goods such as extension services; storage facilities; rural infrastructure (roads, electricity, and information and communication technologies) for access to regional and local markets; and support to farmers’ organizations and cooperatives; region-specific foods and short supply chains; agritourism; nature conservation; landscape management.

One Farm, 8000 Landlords How over 8000 shareholders own Fordhall Organic Farm in its entirety. news.php

Food Systems and Design, John Thackara texts

Food systems – knowledge-sharing as a design task…

From Agroecology to Wind Breaks – hundreds of food system terms explained This impressively long list is also a symptom of the dilemma: how to make sense of all this info? …

Lexicon Of Sustainability: “Local” Combining visuals with insights, a lexicon of more than 200 agricultural terms and principles is explained by today’s most innovative thought leaders. This book showcases and explores how to create a food system that benefits the environment and the people living in it. book/#

The Ecological Knowledge System Ecologically sound agriculture is not just a question of changing farm practices; it also requires a transformation of systems of learning, institutions, and policies.

Nourish Agroecological practices are knowledge-intensive and require the development of ecological literacy not just among farmers, but in the population as a whole. Nourish is an educational initiative designed to open a meaningful conversation about food and sustainability, particularly in schools and communities http://

Turkish Teachers Learn How To Teach Ecoliteracy How should teachers incorporate environmental ethics and lessons on sustainability into their classrooms? That’s the focus of a four-year educational ecoliteracy project — Turkey’s first — which has just begun.http://