the azolla cooking and cultivation project by erik sjodin the azolla cooking and cultivation project by erik sjodin
jun 04, 2013

the azolla cooking and cultivation project by erik sjodin

‘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



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

  • love that proposal ,it could save starving africa childs …. .solution have to develop to intégrate on other food ..

    françois robidas designer says:
  • Yeah ! fun, but .. what’s the taste ?

    andrezooz says:
  • Hi Erik,
    I am a post-doc trainee in Japan. I have interests in your work and have some questions regarding Azolla.
    Could you please kindly send your email address or write a message to my email address.

    Thank you in advance,


    M.Dadashipour says:

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