Important  dates: 

  • Course start June 11th
  • Assignment 1 a +b Due August 6th
  • Assignment 2  take part in the hjulshjö workshop  August 12th – August 19th
  • Assignment 3 Due Sept  7th


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://






















Assignment 2 is carried out during the workshop week August  12- 18th.             A detail  program with assignments will be posted  June 26th

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                           John Thackara:  Click on these:  Readings on Place  and Reader /articles and  Thackara How_to_Thrive_Press_Copy and Interview – Dam ManifestoCheryl Akner Koler: please look through this articleChristine Schaffer: Click on this link 

Check menu bar under Handbook  for information about travel, food and costs for the workshop.

 A collective tasting dinner in the evening of Sunday 13 August

We would like to ask each and every one – as an assignment for the Workshop Week – to bring a local tasting experience from your culture and/or context. Bring something that we can all taste ( a spoon ful each for about 35-45 students & leaders! It could be pretty much anything, a herbal vinaigrette, a sauce, cheese, etc.

We will prepare basic food and bread to go along with it your “local taste ”.

Assignment 2, under Workshop Week involves  meet together for a one week workshop at Hjulsjö village on the  countryside in Sweden. Participants will investigate food system resilience, on site, by carrying out local studies, stakeholder meetings, dialogues and tutorials. They will work with local actors such as farmers, chefs, hunters, makers, agro-forestry, tourism operators, school teachers.

The course  will be structured around the five stages of the Theory U-processa model founded by the Presencing Institute. 

The different stages  involve suspending judgement, embodied meditative and performative activities, poetic reflection, journaling, mapping and other activities that make tangible connections to intangible experiences.

Participants will also carry out communication, affirmative feedback and knowledge exchange activities during the week, with a focus on the co-creation of collective meals whose content, process and form express  ecological and sustainable perspectives. A local and national Swedish perspective will be shared in relation to  insight from our  International participants who will be encouraged to propose practices from their own cultures with the potential to be adapted locally.

New ways to re-connect the city with the land will be a core theme: Ways that are part-time, but long-term; ways that involve an exchange of value, not just paying money; ways in which land, knowledge, and equipment are shared in new ways; ways based on the re-discovery of historical links between town and country – but reinvented in an age of networks and social innovation.

Meal experience  groups organised by theme and partner:

  1. Forest Gathering theme : Partner Cristine Schaffer
  2. Eco Garden theme : Partner Magnus Westling
  3. Ranching theme: Partner Rudy Hobbenschot & Ellen Mulderij

Each student will belong to one of the above themes. The groups are 8-10 students who will collaborate with the partner(s) for 8-12 hours, culminating in making  food and creating the entire meal experience for the  all the students & teachers.  (Attention: Send an email with a list of prioritising which theme you would like to take part in.  We can not guarantee you will get your first priority but we vill try.  If you have a well grounded reasons for not being able to  take part in one of the groups please tell us. )

Parallel Activities 

Activities will be run parallell to the Meal experience themes . The students who are not engaged in the meal experience group  for the day will be able to be engaged in a number of possible events, workshops that are organised through  interest groups. These will be posted and developed during the course. To strengthen the general food systems theme and  reconnecting urban med rural  we will offer the possibility to join  interest group run by the course leaders and by students.

Here are some of the issues we have prepare:

  • Next Economy
  • Poetic activism
  • Haptic and Taste


Workshop week –Hjulsjö  – Assignment 2 –  (Aug 13-19)

This workshop takes place at Hjulsjö and the surrounding community, where student groups will explore the theme: sustainability food systems, watersheds and biodiversity.  Students and teachers meet for one week at Hjulsjö to identify a challenge or opportunity and propose a solution or intervention in a collaborative design effort together with local partners who have ongoing projects, new ideas and visions for the future.

We will run daily lectures, on site studies (with and without partners), tutorials and short group presentations during the week. Through creative prototyping and design methods in workshop activities the groups will develop their collaborative process and proposals.

• A Taste event with local folk, partners and the interested public.

Your work consists of:

* Read the Handbook carefully to prepare your “travel kit”, for information on travel, common meals including breakfast and lunch, and about food logistics

* Bring a “dish / sauce” to the first dinner on Sunday to give a TASTE of your culture

* Participate and collaborate in design teams, tutorials and presentation sessions

* Contribute to course activities, take part in  for preparing & serving common meals

We will begin with a mingling TASTER activity where everyone will share a special taste “dish/sauce” from his or her own/local culture that can be eaten with vegetarian food. Please bring enough so 55 people could have a spoonful  :-).   

Sunday, August 13  

16:00   Arrival set up tents, check things out.

17:30 TASTER activity where everyone will share a special taste “dish/sauce” from his or her own/local culture that can be eaten with vegetarian food. Please bring enough so 55 people could have a spoonful  :-).   

 Evening presentations from participants, course leaders & guests.

Monday  August 14  

08- 09  Breakfast

13:00 – xx

17:00 – Dinner

Tuesday August 15

08- 09  Breakfast

13:00 – xx

17:00 – Dinner

 – Evening presentations from participants, course leaders & guests.

Wednesday, August 16   

08- 09  Breakfast

13:00 – 16:00 continue. Check the list of booked tutorials.

17:00 – Dinner

 – Evening presentations from participants, course leaders & guests.

Thursday, August 17

08- 09  Breakfast

17:00 – Dinner

 Evening presentations from participants, course leaders & guests.

Friday, August 18

08- 09  Breakfast

Theme: Develop the WALL 

17:00   The Taster Feast is an open event for the partners, entire Hjulsjö / Grythytta community and anyone who is interested in the issues we are working with in The Back to the land 2.0 course. Encourage  partners and people you encounter to bring family, neighbours and friends to the fest.

Potluck and Grilled Lamb

Saturday , August 19

08- 09  Breakfast 

09:00 – & kitchen clean up and packing (everyone helps)

09:45   Check out – world cafe method for course feedback

11:30  Pack tents  and Clean up  camping grounds (everyone helps) 

12:15   Bag on bus

13:00 BUS LEAVES  for Stockholm 

Recommended links/ reading:









The next economy 

– I think it is important, from an economic perspective, to understand the world we live in right now, the challenges/scarcity of resources/ Capitalistic system/ Politics and how to bridge that into new economy (-ies) how micro economy relies on macro, how services relate to manufacturing (small and large scale) and natural resources.  This to be able react, improve, change

– From a micro economy perspective, how can what we teach students, give them structures and tools to start up own initiatives or help existing, that take in consideration old thinking, sales/marketing/production/financing in correlation with sustainability/norms/social networking/sharing economy and other new-economy factors. Bridging the gap.

– From a macro perspective, bigger questions. Could we workshop how we can actually supply food for 12bn people? Can we all farm the land? Vertical farming, oxygen, water, natural resources. How can this be taken in conideration in food systems. Tangible vs non tangible resources/assets

Poetic activism 

Swedish poetry has an international reputation for exploring the boundary between human consciousness, language and our relationship the surrounding nature. There is a kind of slow associative reading which emerges “between the lines”.  How can we build greater awareness of and  connection to the land and our sources of food to unlock intrinsic drivers within a community, and then find words and rhythm to claim and story–tell around this connection?

Bengt Emil Johnson 


Location-based sensory exploration – Theme TASTE and HAPTICS

How can we identify within our local rural community, edible foods and taste sensations from the forests and gardens that introduce both subtle and intense flavours.

In what way do haptic experiences play a roll in taste experience and how can we learn to recognise the tangible properties of natural /ecologically grown food in order to gather food and herbs at the right  time, when the flavours and quality are most vivid. 

How can this embodied craftsmanship inspire collective meal experience, both in the making and sharing of meals.

Cheryl Akner-Koler, Professor in Aesthetic                                                                   Lilliann Gilmark, Food Designer founder of Grythyttans Naturskafferie           Magnus Westling, Ecological chef & researcher

left over text: 


Missions house

“Designing is about changes. Whether solutions to problems, open-ended experiments or creative / critical alternatives, it is concerned with the transformation of existing reality.” Ramia Mazé (2007)

To engage in transforming activities that are site specific and show empathy for the visions and ideas from partners, it is important to seek a method for site exploration that will help ground you in your own embodied relationship to the place and situation. Once grounded and sensitive to dynamic qualities of the place you and your team can more easily relate to narratives from your partners.

Document your work for your team and yourself!

Meet John Thackara and the other teachers for one-on-one meeting. This is is a time to Ask Anything.

Indeed, to the extent that any artifact is created in order to shape, reinforce or change behaviors, feeling, or thought, we might consider all designed thing to be inherently persuasive. Mazè 2007 

…encourage members to connect with other members in other teams. You could look into design methods for improving your skills in sharing (Kolding methods card or IDEO cards are available.) Ask for short or long tutorial for each team with the aim to have efficient and creative feedback with the teaches. It is important for all the members to contribute to assure a rich process.  Discuss in advance different way to encourage participation.  Again after dinner there is time to playfully share with the other teams your design process, learn from mistakes and contribute practical and theoretical insight.

Again we suggest you start the day by making plans for how to organize the entire day using design methods for collecting more material, engaging in ideation, creating visual imagery and making physical prototypes that evoke and engage the partners and other players.  We suggest you return to your site, re-examine the situation and if possible, meet your partners again.  Try to interweave self –discovery with collective – discovery processes.

The Finnish architect Juhani Pallasasmaa explains the design process as: A tension between conscious intentions and unconscious drives is necessary for a work in order to open up for more emotional participation.  


Although there is only one week to do assessment 2 we encourage the groups to take longer-term perspective, beyond the timescale of the course, in which creative risk taking is tested.

07:30 – 8:20Breakfast at Missions house.

8:30 – BUS LEAVES for Grythyttan

Visit Campus Grythyttan School of Hospitality, Meal science and Culinary Arts.



9:00 – Guided tour of Måltidens hus and  Culinary library

This visit is planned to offer everyone insight into the unique culinary history of the area around Grythyttan / Hjulsjö.  Please check out the links below for more information. The school was the first university education (perhaps in the world) for hosting, serving and sommelier (expert taster to combine food and drink). Start with a 30 min guide through Måltidens Hus, the newly design pedagogic kitchen and the culinary library, followed by a short, introduction to educational vision of Campus Grythyttan. We then explore a few sensoric labs with professor  Åsa Öström guidance and learn about her collaborating in the national project “Taste Sweden”.

Supporting a creative collaborative approach within your team means ensuring that each team member contributes fully and sensitively. The first individual and collective impressions gained when meeting your partner on site give shared


Each team member will have their own way of understanding and sensing the situation, but you will have a common point in time that will In preparing for the site exploration bring design tools to support aesthetic reasoning; such as cameras, drawing materials, bags to carry material samples in, knife etc..

Aside from meeting partners, take time to meet anyone you come across. Be prepared for adhoc situations and keep a playful attitude so new and innovative ideas can emerge. Take advantage of what John Thackara calls the “designers naïve creativity”.  The big challenge is how the team members can play off each others fuzzy ideas. (Edith Ackermann (19xx) claims that the reason kids are so creative is that the share half baked ideas and they challenges norms because they really don’t know what they are.) Our advice is to sketch roughly, share all of the ideas, sketches & prototypes. Support each other to give form to ideas in order to negotiate and activate the designspace. Invite the partners (if they have time) to give feedback.

Xskool aims to give an opportunity to bring people together and support a common cause.

Document your work for your team and yourself!

“Food Team x” prepares for dinn