‘the azolla cooking and cultivation project’ by erik sjodin
azolla cultivation at rogaland kunstsenter in stavanger, norway
the water fern azolla is one of the world’s fastest growing plants. under ideal conditions it grows exponentially, doubling its biomass every two days. because it is a rich source of nutrients, the fern is commonly used as animal fodder in countries such as india. however, it is virtually unexplored as food for human consumption. in ‘azolla as a component of the space diet during habitation on mars’, a scientific paper published in 2008, the japanese space agriculture researchers calculate that if the plant is co-farmed with rice, fish and carefully selected crops and animals such as soybean, sweet potato and silkworms, it could theoretically be possible to produce all the food a human needs in an area less than 200 square meters. in contrast, today, the average american’s food footprint is more than a hundred times that area.
in response, artist and researcher erik sjodin developed ‘the azolla cooking and cultivation project’ , bringing together artists, researchers, farmers, gardeners, chefs and scientists in cooking and cultivating the plant. a book about the project has been published, summarizing experiences from cooking and cultivating azolla during 2010 and 2011. it is intended as a base for future research on general cultivation as well as a general introduction to its biology and many uses. the manuscript references the herb being used as fertilizer in rice paddies – which goes back centuries – and its potential use as food for humans; its use in poly-cultures, such as in integrated rice, duck, fish and farming.
close up of azolla
backyard azolla cultivation at färgfabriken in stockholm
outdoor azolla kitchen at färgfabriken in stockholm
visitors tasting azolla balls
azolla food cooked at färgfabriken’s cafe
rinsing azolla in the kitchen
cooking azolla at the stockholm culture festival
visitors having a close look at the azolla cultivation at stockholm culture festival
azolla cultivation at the art and agriculture collective kultivator on oland, sweden
the azolla cooking and cultivation project publication