Its name is Jellyfish Barge and it’s a floating greenhouse. On its wooden basement there are recycled plastic drums where to grow vegetables just exploiting sea water, solar energy and wind. No land needed. That means growing farms could happen everywhere, theoretically even by the Colosseo as well as Rodeo Drive.
Jellyfish Barge, projected by the University of Florence, has been awarded at Expo as the Italian way to techno-food: a response to the US synthetic hamburger and Soylent, the one-size-fits-all nutrient beverage. An eloquent demonstration that the digital Renaissance of food is coming for real. And it speaks Italian.
Thanks to Expo, Italy has been for six months the navel of the world of food. Jellyfish Barge is just one of the ideas to be developed: reading wine bottles labels on smart phones to track each step of one of the best Italian productions, using drones to make agriculture going digital, and technology to cut the enormous wastes of food (according to Waste Watchers Observatory, 163 dollars per head each year just in Italy).
Now that Expo is closing, there’s an intriguing project to transform the Expo area in the Silicon Valley of food, a mega-lab from where to spread the Italian Food System throughout the world: a revolutionary brand that mixes Italian super-high quality food and technology.
A new project with a unique Italian heartbeat and a visionary commander in chief. Marco Gualtieri is the founder of Seeds&Chips, a start-up specialized in food and innovation: “Expo has represented a tremendous spot to share knowledge”, he explains. “It’d be unforgivable not to seize the opportunity to go further. Moving exactly from where everything began”.
According to Mr Gualtieri, there are good reasons to make his project come true. And Italy is the best place to do it. “Italian tradition is about high quality food. Labs and research teams are already at work in northern Italy. The Italian leadership in agricultural machinery and the aerospatial industrial district (producing drones) based in Lombardia, FAO and World Food Programme having their headquarters in Rome, European Authority in Food Security in Parma. Should I go on?”.
In Mr Gualtieri’s vision, the huge Expo area (as large as 184 soccer fields) just a few kilometres from downtown Milan, has everything to make it successful.
As Mr Gualtieri remarks: “Like Silicon Valley is about technology, Milan could be the perfect cradle for the restless world of food start-ups to develop”.