Bakker opened the showcase house in Melbourne's Federation just over 6 months ago and barring Covid lockdowns, it has be open to the public ever since. Bakker is an florist, chef and now urban designer, probably best known in Australia for making pop-up restaurants and featuring menus made of food grown on premises or using another restaurant's leftovers.
Bakker is now shifting the focus of personal household waste and food into homes. He says that urban food systems have huge potential to grow most of our food. Apart from bringing our food within metres of the place we need it, urban food systems have the potential to include millions of people and the opportunity to rewild rural land that's no longer being used for farming.
“WHERE THE PROBLEM SITS IS WITH THE FOOD SYSTEM. WE NEED TO RADICALLY CHANGE THE WAY WE GROW FOOD. FOOD SYSTEMS NEED TO BE WHERE WE LIVE AND WHERE WE GENERATE THE WASTE. MY GOAL IS TO CREATE THE BIGGEST LITTLE ECOSYSTEM IN THE WORLD.”
So much about public acceptance is showing how easy and downright fabulous 'ideas' like this are. Urban food has changed a lot since Bakker started publicly campaigning for better food systems in early 2000, including the fact that we have many many more zero-waste and circular solutions that literally fit into a home footprint.
"I GENUINELY BELIEVE THAT WE CAN LIVE SUSTAINABLY AND IT'S NOT THAT RADICAL. PEOPLE ARE NOW SEEING FROM OUR INSTAGRAM PAGE THAT URBAN FOOD CAN BE REALLY EXCITING. AND ON AN INDIVIDUAL LEVEL, WE'RE ALL STARTING TO REDUCE OUR WASTE.
MY GOAL IS THAT BY 2030 THE IDEA OF URBAN FOOD IS MAINSTREAM AND SOMETHING THAT WE'RE ALL DOING IN SOME WAY, SHAPE OR FORM."
The prefab structure two-bedroom residence made from responsibly sourced, recycled and recyclable materials, with each element of the building feeding into the production and sustenance of another part of the building.
It is chemical, toxins and glue free and the walls, made from compressed organic straw are painted with lime paint. The tiles are made from recycled concrete and can be recycled again. The timber in the corridor was made from a 130 year old cypress tree in Ballarat that was struck by lightning.
Functionally, the house is designed to use every action (like showering) to its greatest potential and to wast nothing. A mushroom wall as been built next to the bathroom, capturing steam from the shower to create the humid environment for the mycelium to thrive. The mushrooms create CO2, which feeds the greenery living in the atrium next to it.
The kitchen overlooks a terrace garden, that grows over 200 species of plant life including a veggie patch and beehive. The rooftop has a second garden, solar panels and an aquaponics system filled with fish, yabbies and mussels. This water system creates nutrients for the surrounding plant life such as rhubarbs, zucchinis, horseradish and tea.
There is also an insect experiment, potentially not for the faint hearted, but very relevant to future food. They grow by feeding off veggie scraps and are processed with some sprouted chickpeas, herbs, veggies and spices, and fried to make cricket balls.
Lockdowns permitting, the house is open to the public. Home residents have been award-winning chefs Matt and Jo, who cultivate and cook with only what’s grown at the house. Seating for up to 14 at a time for lunch or dinner is available to try their experimental dishes.
Visitors can tour to learn more about how the ecosystem works and the actions we can all take for the future of urban living. Book at Future Food Systems. You can also follow the many videos they have published.