As human beings of the technological age, it is fair to say that waste management and the management of food preservation has been developed to such an extent that it is now a process nearly entirely dependent on technology. The contradiction in this fact, however, as Korean designer Jihuyn Ryou highlights, is that mankind has forgotten a most obvious factor when it comes to natural food preservation – the fact that as a living organism its existence should remain within a natural, not technological, environment. As the world grows alongside developing global issues such as waste, over population and poverty, society has often looked to its most powerful force – technology – for the answer. However when it comes to waste management, has the answer been aligned with traditional food practices all along?
On average, globally, an everyday household wastes close to 30% of its food through a misuse / misunderstanding of proper preservation (UNEPF 2011). Ryou calls this a ‘blind trust’ that mankind has developed in technology, specifically the refrigerator, in which a lack of observation and knowledge of food has led to an increase of food waste in the 21st century (2009). By studying traditional food preservation through oral tradition, Ryou has developed her ‘Save Food From the Fridge’ initiative to which specific foods are given a more suitable and sustainable means to exist in the everyday household. Her project serves two purposes, one being to save food from being wasted, and the other to save food from loosing its nutrients through correct preservation. Ryou highlights a laziness that general society has adopted towards food due to its abundance in first world countries, compared to the thorough management and observation of food in olden times that was necessary for survival.
In designing ‘Save Food From the Fridge’ Ryou has cleverly considered the creation of physical objects as a means to bring back a closer relationship between food and people. She looks into the symbiosis of potatoes and apples in a dual storage system whereby an understanding of the emission of ethylene gas from apples helps to prevent the sprouting of potatoes.
In another design, Ryou creates a simple, beautifully designed storage system for root vegetables, in which keeping roots in their natural, upright position allows the organism to re-align with its original vertical development, preserving more energy and keeping appropriate humidity placed in moistened sand.
Finally, in what now seems a most obvious management for eggs, Ryou has constructed a storage shelf where eggs may remain in natural air, free from absorbing the smells from refrigeration through their millions of surface pores with an additional glass for testing the freshness of the egg.
It is clear to see that Ryou’s simple realignment with traditional food preservation can make quite a drastic change on the preservation and management of food. By taking the time to observe the natural being of such foods, mankind would benefit not only from the duration of purchased goods, but also from an improvement of taste with nutrients thriving in their natural condition. Check out her blog to see more of Ryou’s ideas and to communicate with like minded people across the world deterring from technology and re-aligning with traditional methods of food preservation: http://shareyourfoodknowledge.tumblr.com/
Tedx Talks – Jihyun Ryou on ‘Save Food From the Fridge’ 2012
Nickel-Kailing, G, April 9th 2013, ‘Food Waste in the 21st Century’, Good Food World, viewed 25th April 2015, http://www.goodfoodworld.com/2013/04/food-waste-in-the-21st-century/
Ryou, J, 2015, ‘Save Food From the Fridge’, viewed 25th April 2014, http://www.savefoodfromthefridge.com/
TEDx Talks, February 9th 2012, ‘Save Food From the Fridge: Shaping Traditional Oral Knowledge: Jihyun Ryou at TEDx’, Video Recording, viewed 25th April 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NByNOOaCzI
UNEPF, 2011, ‘Food Waste Facts’ viewed on 25th April 2014, http://www.unep.org/wed/2013/quickfacts/