Edible Object Practicum is a collaborative workshop that utilizes Systems Thinking and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to deconstruct the role of food and its methods of consumption through experimentation. The program combines elements of provocative lecture, design fiction, team-building game, and therapeutic discussion to look at how foods are modified or adapted for various human conditions based on physical and non-physical attributes. The program is not only intended to allow the general public to take on the role of creator, but also empower them to think constructively towards change and uncertainties around our food system. Moreover, the structure of the program encourages trust building by having participants share and react to stories from diverse perspectives.
The program is independently organized with help of community organizations and volunteers. It is also built upon the foundation of several successful workshops including: Prototyping the Future of Food organized by Jinsoo An for TEDxTartu in 2018, 99¢ Futures by Extrapolation Factory in 2013, and Conditional Design method developed by Luna Maurer, Edo Paulus, Jonathan Puckey, and Roel Wouters in 2013.
We are at an inflection point of a great transformation in our food system. The way in which people consume and interact with food is changing rapidly. While the change will not be pleasant for everyone, it needs to continue and evolve in order to meet the UN agenda for 2030, which calls for sustainable and alternative production of food. However, in response to this need, waves of change are taking place and they are leading to the increased level of public fear and anxiety.
By equipping participants with Systems Thinking and other essential design methods, they will learn to develop catalytic concept for positive change in our food system. Each team will focus on one of five lens in the context of food and the greater Los Angeles community: mental illness, homelessness, aging, and environment. The workshop will also incorporate aspects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help examine our world and ourselves. During the exercise, the participants will engage in collaboration and concept development as well as becoming familiar with prototyping and storytelling within a set of constraints. Most importantly, by constructing future concepts by hand, the participants will get a better sense of how troubling issues could be solved by a network of grass-root innovations.