Hydroponics, algae, vertical gardens, desalination and crop research – at Expo Milano 2015, the solutions to increase food security and create the food of the future can be found in many of the pavilions. Here’s an overview.
The visitor is led through a "passage of time", starting from 2015 and going up through 2050. How will we be feeding ourselves? Here is a sort of “laboratory of solutions for the future”. The systems presented are: hydroponics and aquaponics (with authentic fish tanks), the use of insects (permitted in Belgium as an ingredient when mixed with other flours) and the rediscovery of common wild plants.
For the UAE, the theme of Expo Milano 2015 is crucial, as 85 percent of food is imported and the scarcity of water resources is a constant challenge. A series of 48 holographic installations divided into 24 cubes have been mounted, highlighting 12 challenges and offering numerous solutions. For example to address climate change, the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture is studying edible plants that are resistant to saline conditions specific of the Emirates.
In the exhibition space dedicated to water, German projects are presented on the recovery of phosphorus as fertilizer. In the section devoted to the land, interactive displays provide information on projects such as agroforestry to prevent erosion and to stabilize the water balance. Progressing through the pavilion, visitors can view solutions that combine climate protection, sustainable procurement, energy and nutrition, such as agricultural solar panels, or combining the use of surface energy and agriculture. Finally, there are projects for the preservation and promotion of biodiversity, including the Gatersleben Gene Bank.
Japan's contribution to the problems of the planet is shown on stage three of the Pavilion, entitled Innovation. The animated mascots, Morizo and Chiccolo, explain to a robot in simple language the food challenges of the planet. Touching one of the four world maps on the sides of the pavilion, you can find solutions that Japan has proposed to the various food problems on a global scale.
Israel is presented as a 'granary of knowledge'. The outside of the pavilion presents a vertical field that uses an Israeli patented irrigation system with low environmental impact. The wall is typical of the most advanced Israeli agricultural techniques, saving water and reducing the emission of pollutants. In the second room, the contribution of Israel to international agricultural innovation is presented, such as the cultivation of higher quality grain for pasta and automated milking methods.
Interactive content is divided into 15 circular displays. In the fifth display, dedicated to aquaculture, a method, called milking, extracts the eggs of sturgeon without killing the animal. In the sixth display, dedicated to the agriculture of the future, the danger posed by locusts is presented, which in 2013 devastated more than 2 million hectares of crops. Scientists have developed a monitoring system using drones to identify areas affected by outbreaks.
The visit to the Kuwait Pavilion is conceived as a journey aimed at understanding what life in the desert is like and how the Kuwaitis were able to make their territory a hospitable place, rich in resources. At the end of the second room, there are walls of glass, a vertical garden made with hundreds of hydroponic plants representing the commitment of the Middle Eastern country to the development of agriculture.
Date palms, the heart of the agricultural tradition of Oman, are the center of the section "Our rich agricultural heritage", with the "one million palm trees" project, which should be completed in 2025. An installation reproduces a simplified acquaponic system. In the "Treasures of our seas" the visitor learns that the country is building an artificial reef, through completely natural installations on the seabed, around which will form calcifications.
The Qatari government is investing in agricultural projects at the forefront with the Qatar National Food Security Program (QNFSP) including: a hydroponic system, desalination and water production from atmospheric moisture (Agriverde) and microalgae for aquaculture. Qatar is also building a hub port for efficient transport. With the Filaha project, the government is promoting the publishing of some ancient texts on traditional farming methods, to check their applicability in the present day.
The Pavilion highlights a number of innovative projects and prototypes made by startups and university departments of Slovakia. Some examples? Smart hydroponic systems for growing at home (Croptech), energy drinks that can be achieved through the liquefaction of farro for a natural cereal drink (Functional food) or plastic material made from 100 percent natural materials such as corn and sugar beets (Biodegradable bioplastic).
The vertical garden is the feature that best represents American Food 2.0: a large wall made of motorized panels that turn towards the sun. Through a hydroponic method and water recovery, the system nourishes over 40 varieties of crops. Inside hanging pots are equipped with a system of lights capable of stimulating the growth of plants. A series of videos depict American innovation in agriculture, policy, cooking, food, industry and research.
A journey of innovation in the wake of the "Prix de l'Audace et de l'inventivité". Ten trends characteristic of French creativity are illustrated by ten selected products during the last edition of SIAL, the largest exposition linked to innovation in the food industry. These ten products are integrated into the design of the pavilion, and the "Prêt à Pousser" project - organic mushrooms grown in a cardboard box - has been selected as winner of the competition, indicative of the trend "cook and grow at home."
At Expo Milano 2015, the Netherlands have developed projects related to innovation in the field of nutrition. With the concept of "sharing", the country believes that the solutions to global challenges require international collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and resources by all. The concept of "growth" is expressed through the richness of the Netherlands, from which the technological, economic and social development of the country is derived. While that of "living" is shown by the number of people looking for a higher and higher quality of life.
The Pavilion shows an example of urban aquaculture as seen in the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, where the first oyster nursery in the Mediterranean was built. The excellence of these products is guaranteed by the good quality of the water that is constantly controlled by xenia coral, used on farms as a natural alarm that monitors conditions, while phytoplankton serves as food for the oysters. The mollusks are raised in the nursery until they reach the size of 10 mm, and then they are transported to Brittany and then return to the Principality of Monaco where they enter the production process. The oysters provide an example of the methods and technologies capable of obtaining healthy products in urban environments.
A real food laboratory is found within the Exhibition Area where visitors can learn how to choose and purchase food with the aid of technologies of the future. The exhibition that combines innovation with suggestion; the challenge is to improve food production, starting to make use of insects, Bio-on sustainable packaging and floating structures capable of producing foods, such as the startup Jellyfish Barge.`
The innovative idea that the country offers is related to a new form of food packaging. The protective films are developed in new edible ways, so as to avoid waste, applicable to almost every kind of food that can be wrapped in portioned packages and cooked in boiling water: tea, coffee, oatmeal, soups, pasta, spices and herbs. In addition, all raw and ready to eat food can be packaged like this including meat, cheese, fruit and vegetables.