Sustainable Design | Future Food System by Joost Bakker

  • Joost Bakker reimagines the way we can live in our cities with the Future Food System, a conceptual home designed to model a natural ecosystem.

    Sitting in the kitchen and dining area on the second storey of the Future Food System is akin to an intimate dinner party at a friend’s home. It’s this immersive experience, tasting the culinary delights grown and prepared on-site, that invites a rethinking of how we can better live. Designed to provide nourishing food, shelter and energy, the Future Food System embodies a way of living conducive to our health – and the health of our planet.

    The Future Food System is one of zero-waste pioneer Joost Bakker’s largest projects to date in collaboration with chefs Jo Barrett and Matt Stone. Situated in Melbourne’s Federation Square, the 87 square-metre, self-sustaining two-bedroom home manifests what we can achieve in an urban environment.

    The People

    Best-known for spearheading the zero-waste movement through sustainable restaurant and home design, Joost Bakker challenges perceptions on a self-sufficient way of living. He is a long-time collaborator with award-winning chefs Matt and Jo, asking them to live and work in the Future Food System for six months, to cultivate and cook with only what’s grown there. The chefs welcome guests into the pop-up, seating up to 14 at a time for lunch or dinner to try their experimental dishes from the productive indoor and outdoor garden and aquaponic system. Visitors can also step inside the Future Food System for a tour to learn more about how the ecosystem works and the actions we can all take for the future of urban living.

    The Place

    Joost Bakker speaks with infectious enthusiasm about the local makers, materials and tools involved in bringing the Future Food System to life – the fifth iteration of his Greenhouse. Every detail has been interrogated to create the entirely zero-waste, non-toxic home; where waste becomes a source of nutrients and power, promoting the cyclical nature of living. 

    The walls are made from compressed organic straw called Durra Panel – one of the world’s biggest waste products left after a grain crop has been harvested. Durra Panel turns straw into recyclable and biodegradable ceiling and wall panels that are ten times more durable than plasterboard and fully certified for fire resistance. Downstairs, recycled concrete tiles are for earthing the inhabitants, made using wine bottles (not sand) that can be recycled again like everything in the home.

    The Future Food System features 200 different species of plants, a beehive, chooks and insects, as well as an aquaponic system with yabbies, freshwater muscles and Barramundi.

    A nickel-iron battery wall provides electricity for the home with Australian solar panels that clad the exterior, while a mushroom wall grows internally using steam from the shower. The outdoor terrace garden cascades from top to bottom, with 200 different species of plants and a beehive. Chooks and insects, as well as an aquaponic system with yabbies, freshwater muscles and Barramundi, all play their part in enhancing this intricate and nutritious system. 

    Old skateboards were used to create a colourful splashback in the kitchen. The kitchen and bathroom wall panelling and joinery are made from a 130-year-old Cypress tree that was struck by lightning and milled for the project. Sugar gum was also used in the kitchen as it can be coppiced; part of Joost’s regenerative agriculture vision. 

    The Food

    The project proves the future of living centres around the kitchen. With a refreshing perspective on our relationship with food, Joost relays the importance of connecting to what we grow (and eat) and making it nutrient-dense through how we grow it. 

    Chefs Matt and Jo have put the zero-waste philosophies into action by cooking entirely from what’s grown on-site, fermenting and preserving produce and making the most of every ingredient through their inventive dishes. Jo and Matt prove how as inhabitants, we can actually have a positive impact in driving our home’s own natural ecosystem. 

    Chefs Matt Stone and Jo Barrett preparing food in the kitchen. Joost specified energy-efficient Miele appliances in this space. When installed, the appliance packaging was broken down by worms into organic matter. 

     The Future Food System proves what a Melbourne home with limited outdoor space can be capable of growing from bananas to tiger nuts used to create the dessert pictured above.

    A blueprint for innovative, zero-waste residential design, Joost Bakker’s Future Food System taps into our collective consciousness to live as part of an ecosystem – just as nature intended. After its stint in Federation Square, Melbourne the Future Food System pop up will become the permanent home of Joost’s mother in Monbulk, Victoria. 

    The bedrooms feature a custom vertical garden bed designed by Joost Bakker, with bedding sourced from Country Road.

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