Horse meat? No thanks. Now more than ever, people want to know where their food comes from. For a lot of folks this means buying local and organic, and an even more conscientious subset will take matters into their own soil-laden hands, tending to teensy pots and patches of green in their own homes. Recent Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Sebastiaan Sennema created the compact Urban Harvest series as a means to encourage an even deeper connection to what we put in our mouths. "It’s not just about engaging urbanites with green fingers and a lack of garden—it’s about integrating nature and cultivating a consciousness of its mechanisms into our daily home life," Sennema tells Co.Design.
Sennema integrated three components into the system—each distinct but complementary, easy enough to figure out for newbies but sophisticated enough for those familiar with the particulars of domestic cultivation. A custom composting "worm bin" lets the little wigglers do their thing, converting food scraps—mostly vegetables, no meats or dairy—into nutrient-rich fertilizer. The flat work space functions a bit like a large-scale cutting board, complete with a bottle collecting runoff water, small pots for plants, and compartments to catch veggie cast-offs during prep.
Then there’s the hanging terra-cotta cooler, which provides a place to store your mini-harvests. Would it be easier, perhaps, to toss your bounty in the fridge? Sure. But Sennema is very particular about his mission for the Urban Harvest series. "It’s more than a possession—it’s a philosophy," he says. "It was designed to create a change in mentality. It allows for consideration and recollection of forgotten science, merged with the sustainability of the future. Just because the world is more advanced in technology doesn’t mean that processes from the past are not valuable anymore."
The custom color palette is a mix of warm, earthy tones with a touch of turquoise, all of which "respect the honesty of the materials and what their functional roles will be," the designer says.
Urban Harvest is currently a prototype, but the concept is clearly a passion for Sennema, whose previous work includes SeedSavour, a starter kit to allow growers to share specimens and reintroduce them into their respective environments. He hopes that these ideas will give others a glimpse at the myriad possibilities to reconnect with our edibles. "Hopefully, it will encourage people to think creatively on how they can use similar elements to come up with their own solutions."