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  • Romy Kraus

#BauhausOfTheSeas: Redefining Food Sources

The Culinary Wave of Change: Sustainable Eating

We speak with Frederico Duarte, Communications Director of the "Bauhaus of the Seas" project and discusses the initiative's practical steps towards sustainability - from the innovative use of regenerative menus to legislative changes to change school menus.

Romy: What is "Bauhaus of the Seas"?

Frederico: It is one of the seven new European Bauhaus Lighthouse demonstration projects. It's a consortium of 18 institutions across seven EU nations, including academic, cultural, and territorial organizations.  This consortium is involved in pilot projects aimed at rethinking life near aquatic ecosystems, like the ocean, the North Sea Delta, the straits between Malmo and Copenhagen, and the lagoons in Venice. The project features eight pilot projects categorized into seven "drops" or types, focusing on local collaboration and scalability.

Romy: What would be an ideal outcome of the "Powers of the Seas" project?

Frederico: Our ambitious aim is to influence legal frameworks, starting with the "regenerative menu" concept, which integrates how we source and consume food with the health of aquatic ecosystems. For instance, consuming invasive species could improve these ecosystems' sustainability. In Lisbon, we plan to introduce this concept at both the Gulbenkian Modern Art Center and local elementary schools. This will challenge perceptions of what is edible, such as seaweed or invasive fish, among museum visitors and schoolchildren. Since Lisbon’s schools are municipally managed and their menus require local government approval, implementing this change demands altering legislation. By 2025, we hope to host events where children consume these sustainable food sources, and by the same year or 2026, we aim to have laws in place requiring school menus to include a certain percentage of such environmentally beneficial items.

Romy: It's also extremely delicious. I love seaweed.

Frederico: I know. And almost all of the seaweed found on Portuguese shores is actual edible. So you can eat them all but we don't know about it. When we think of seaweed, you think of sushi. But we don't because it's not part of our tradition. They can sometimes innovate and establish traditions. Yeah, that is also very interesting.

Romy: You are also a design curator. What challenges are there in bringing multidisciplinary groups together in this project?

Frederico: What's interesting is discovering common ground and shared experiences. And, because it involves multiple institutions, one project can begin in academia with a recent PhD student, be applied by an artist, and eventually end up on the desk of a legislator. We have those different institutions that should collaborate. I use the word should because we are making it so. So this is a major effort. But there are also unknown unknowns. This is first and foremost a research project and we are encouraged to take risks. We might fail. But we're being brave. And we are, setting high expectations.

Romy: Thank you. Talking about schools and being brave - over to Matti from our next gen reporter team who has some questions.

Matti: How can you make it possible for young people and college students to engage and submit ideas for this initiative?

Frederico: One way we may accomplish this is for you to participate in our C forums, which are attended by people representing many communities and institutions. We are participating in an increasing number of initiatives, workshops, lectures, and speaking at various festivals. And people can contact us through our websites and socials

Matti: How can an individual apply a more aware diet, such as the one you recommend?

Frederico: I would advise you to be more attentive of what you eat, to eat locally, to eat in season, and to be aware of where your meat, fish, and other animals come from. Try to eat locally, and look into the origins of specific foods. And if they're local and in season, you're doing at least half of it. You can educate yourself on what you can consume locally throughout the year.


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