We opened the Pet Shop Food Bar at the Waterlooplein in Amsterdam in November 2016. After three successful events, at Dutch Design Week 2015, Museum Night Amsterdam and the Red Light Pet Shop in the heart of Amsterdam's red light district, it was time to find out how our micro-pets can contribute to the future of our food.
You could grab a superfood breakfast at our Pet Shop Food Bar; surprise your friends with some homemade spirulina candies; or learn about how bacteria contribute to our food, flora, and food intake. Our collection of bacteria, fungi, and algae was also be available for purchase. In our workshop series, we researched the possible effects our biobank might have on future food trends. We'll also teached you how to build a DIY photobioreactor where you can grow the algae that might be your next meal!
The Pet Shop Food Bar was held in cooperation with BigPicnic, a collaborative project between Waag and 15 botanical gardens that focuses on food security in the future. What do we really know about our food? How will we feed the world's growing population? What does it mean that farming is becoming more and more one-sided? And could something as simple as bacteria help us?
Botanical gardens have collected and studied plants for centuries. And, increasingly, botanical gardens are taking on a pioneering role within local communities. For example, they sometimes support local communities in growing their own food and encourage citizens to become actively involved in the program. In collaboration with the Pet Shop Food Bar, we will examine the roles biotechnology, mircoorganisms, and bacteria can play in shaping the future of our food.
As with the previous editions of the Pet Shop, Waag wants to bring biotechnology into the public sphere. The life sciences have expanded enormously in recent decades. But that revolution took only place behind the doors of carefully screened universities and commercial laboratories. That is—until biohackers started to interfere.
Waag's Amsterdam-based Open Wetlab is a place for amateurs and enthusiasts to experiment with biotechnology. We are increasingly able to design living organisms, and artists and designers are becoming more interested in microorganisms and “Biodesign.” In the Open Wetlab, Waag offers workshops to anyone who wants to learn how to use our equipment and biomaterials.