Adaptations in Nature Inspire Students in Award-Winning Design to Reduce Food Waste

Reprinted from Pratt Institute

Could a solution to the international food waste crisis be in the respiratory system of a cricket or the ribs of a cactus? A team of Pratt Institute design students has been named as a finalist in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge for a proposal to use these adaptations of the natural world to reduce the loss of perishable produce. The winners were selected from 100 teams representing 17 countries.

The team behind the project—called Tomato’s Home—includes Xiaoke Li, MFA Interior Design ’20; Jiajie Xu, BFA Fashion Design ’21; Jiahan Yu, MFA Interior Design ’19; and Fanjin Zhao, MFA Interior Design ’21. The interdisciplinary group was part of a biomimicry design class led by Tetsu Ohara, Adjunct Associate Professor of Interior Design, who was also the faculty advisor on their project. Biomimicry is the process of emulating nature in design, such as Japan’s bullet trains mimicking the streamlined beak of a kingfisher and burs from a burdock plant sparking the invention of Velcro