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Future Food at Maker Faire Rome: setting the scene for the Food of the Future




By Sara Roversi 

In the previous interview, I discussed the importance of this event to the global community of Food Makers and how extraordinary it is for our own Ecosystem to be a part of this huge celebration in which food innovators from around the world get together to meet. It’s not long now until the biggest show and tell in Europe gets underway, so there’s no better time to take a deeper look at the initiatives curated by the Future Food Ecosystem this year. Ready? Let’s go!






Our area reconstructs the long and winding road of the global food chain from the point of view of the Food Maker. As the principal actor in this cycle, the food maker plays a critical role: they cultivate, produce, transform, exchange, collaborate, consume and recycle through their operations. Moreover, their daily food choices have a profound impact on the entire community.

The exposition hall will therefore be composed of exhibits, installations, workshops and discussions along a path that transports the visitor through the food chain as a lived experience, leading them towards the future.




There are five main themes in the hall, and have emerged out of the last year of our own research at Future Food. These five key elements are:


  1. Digital Agriculture: A survey taken by Wired and IBM showed that 75% of Italian farmers are interested in big data, drones, sensors and genetics, 30% planned to employ these technologies and 10% were already using them. 52.2% were interested in using sensors in their growing areas, and 50.1% were interested in digital agronomist technology. These themes, a legacy left by the 2016 Expo, are central this year.
  2. Food Design: New flavors are constantly emerging and with them new methods of preparation, production, and distribution. Rethinking and redesigning food has been a central theme of mankind since our earliest moments and as technology develops, so too do the tools at our disposal.
  3. Mindful Eating: Feeding the body to feed the mind. We’ve all heard this expression a million times before, but what does it really mean? We must understand what our bodies are telling us and learn to distinguish between a stress reaction, hunger and satisfaction. Doing so not only helps us to better understand the emotions that food produces and the myriad ways to interact with it, but also how to recognize food as a principal expression of culture.
  4. Smart Kitchens: Robots in the kitchen is certainly not a new idea but in the last few years these machines have gotten more sophisticated and the results of their work have been astounding. From a countertop garden to a robot that makes 3D pancakes to order, this year’s Maker Faire will have no shortage of Christmas gift ideas for the passionate chef (or techie).
  5. Superfoods: These foods have higher than average levels of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, mineral salts, antioxidants and nutrients, and are renowned for their ability to restore mental and physical energy without resorting to chemicals or artificial additives in food.






As I mentioned in the last interview, the exhibition hall will be organized as a pathway through the different stops on the global food chain. It begins in the field where Alex Giordano and his incredible team at Rural Hub will talk about smart agriculture, demonstrate new agricultural technologies, and organize workshops. The trail will continue on to production and then recycling, passing through transformation and distribution along the way. In each area, Food Makers whose work represents these steps will discuss and showcase specific trends in these areas.

The startups are divided into the following areas:

  • Production
  • Transformation
  • Distribution
  • Eating
  • Recycling


Sam by Marie Caye




The Maker Faire would be nothing without these innovative actors. Startups bring their disruptive ideas to the public and in so doing, change the nature of food as we know it. This year we’ve brought the following startups with us as part of the Future Food team:


  • PlantuiThis hydroponic home garden can accommodate up to 12 plants at the same time thanks to its patented system that works in all seasons with a unique spectral light system that can double or triple the amount of Vitamin C and beta-carotene in a plant.
  • WallfarmWallfarm has developed the most reliable and efficient solution in the market to automate any kind of vertical farming system; it aspires to become an industrial standard over Vertical Farming automation and it’s called LIA, Lean Intelligent Agriculture.
  • Tower GardenAs one of the global leaders in vertical farming, Tower Garden produces aeroponic growing towers that fit perfectly into any home, no matter the size or location.
  • SamThis machine uses AI software to produce and serve sodas and beverages made from Kefir, and will soon do the same with Kombucha.
  • CookiThis software is targeted to food service professionals and helps them to monitor and track food costs while also communicating information about allergies and the nutritional value of their products to guests.
  • SpireatSpirufarm produces 100% organic Italian spirulina that is also sustainably farmed. How do they do it? By enabling farms to recuperate thermal energy from biogas, they gather spirulina all year round with zero added cost to the farmer.
  • ItalbugsThis company has created a capsule containing insect protein that can be taken as a nutritional supplement in pill form or used as a food additive in powdered form.
  • Waste2ValueOne man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so they say. This initiative is based around the creation of a circular economy designed to recuperate food and paper waste in shopping centers and malls. During the Maker Faire, Martina Melucchi and Angelica Trinchera will ask visitors for their feedback on their project, “RECYCLheart, the art of recycling”, an online platform that aims to create a bridge between business that create waste and those who use that waste to create new products.
  • BiospremiThe brainchild of Nino La Greca, a Sicilian olive farmer and oil producer, this patented system introduces a new method of oil expression with impressive results.
  • REVOILutionThis project brings freshly expressed extra virgin olive oil to the Italian consumer market using a high tech system that comes with concentrated olive paste that has been freeze dried and packed to maintain quality and freshness.
  • Funghi EspressoThe team will participate in a cooking demo with chef Marco Vitale of Vitam Advice and will show off their award winning product. A blue ribbon prize winner at last year’s Maker Faire Rome, Funghi Espresso produces fresh, natural, sustainable mushrooms using coffee grounds that they collect from local bars and restaurants.






In collaboration with techno-scientific partners and innovative food businesses, we will present a vertical workshop open to both the press and the public that focuses on some of the main themes of the Future Food hall. The participants include:


  • Neuro Food Lab: Thimus, mechatronic experts and authorities in the “brain-gut” nexus, have worked in collaboration with Future Food to develop a personalized nutrition device that employs a neuroanalytic system to develop a sustainable regimen. This incredible voyage inside of the mind will take place twice a day, by appointment only.
  • Food 3D Printing: After their appearance at the World Maker Faire in New York, PancakeBotthe 3D printing pancake maker, touches down at Maker Faire Rome. Visitors can come to the stand with their own 2D designs and watch as the PancakeBot transforms them.
  • Food Alchemy: This open lab highlights the power of food, in this case using fermented foods to show their impact on human health. The Food Makers from Shi liao a Food Alchemy project on display at the Scuderia FF Urban Coolab, will be on hand to discuss the nutritional properties of fermented foods and beverages.
  • Plant Revolution: From Stephen Ritz’s Green Bronx Machine with his Tower Gardens to Music of the Plantsvisitors will be treated to an incredible display of the potential of plants to change the world. Have you ever heard a plant sing? This is your chance!




Maker Faire is a celebration for all, but it is especially important to engage the Food Makers of the future: our children. In the Future Food KIDS area, three workshops will take place on Sunday, 3 December, that are dedicated to children ages 6-12:


  1. Science in the Kitchen: The kitchen is undoubtedly the high tech hub of any household. Everytime we cook, whether we’re making coffee, putting a cake in to bake, or rolling out pizza dough, we’re engaging in a series of scientific experiments that (hopefully) result in a delicious meal. In this new kids lab, we will explain to young chefs how to correctly use cooking chemicals like baking soda or saccharides through games and experiments. Together, we will explore the world of food through science in a unique way that will entertain kids while they learn!
  2. Food Waste: Where does the food go after it leaves our plates, the refrigerator, supermarket shelves, or cafeterias if it isn’t consumed? Everyday enormous quantities of food are thrown away, even if they are still perfectly edible. Indeed, between 40 and 60% of the world’s food supply ends up in the trash, at the same time that many areas of the world never have access to fresh food. This lab shows children how to minimize food waste and how to instead cultivate sustainable eating habits. Using our collective ingenuity, we create “Salvacibo”, a system of food distribution that brings fresh food to those who do not have access by rethinking food waste and saving food that can be eaten from ending up in the trash.
  3. Superfoods for Super Heros: What do superheroes eat? What if vegetables were superheroes? This workshop is dedicated to recipes that the whole family will enjoy that use superfoods, and along the way we will learn the history of these nutritional superheroes. Through culinary adventures we discover new food combinations with new tastes, and along the way children with learn about these healthy, clean foods and their incredible secrets!






As I have said from the beginning, Maker Faire is an occasion that brings together Food Makers and friends from around the world, and this year we’re delighted to have some of our friends with us, including:


  • Chloe Rutzerveld: This young and talented food designer and Food Maker pioneer developed Edible Growtha sphere filled with 3D printed mushrooms that grow in edible earth, and has toured the world with it.
  • Marie Caye: The dynamic founder of SAM, a machine that uses AI software to produce and serve kefir (and soon Kombucha) sodas.
  • Stephen Ritz: A veritable rockstar in the US and around the world, Stephen became famous through his project, Green Bronx MachineHe has worked with Michelle Obama on her fight against child obesity and on promoting healthy eating. Along with his students in the Bronx, Stephen has cultivated more than 18,000 kilos of fruit and vegetables and in so doing has helped teach young people and their families how to grow and eat healthy food, no matter what their circumstances.
  • Chiara Cecchini: Chiara is the Editor of Edible Innovation from Make Magazine and Project Manager of the Food pavilions in two of the most important Maker Faires in the world: the World Maker Faire in New York, and the Maker Faire Bay Area in California.
  • Matthew Oswald: The creator of Mugsy the first every robotic coffee maker which is easy to use and can be completely personalized.
  • James Hunt: Founder of Viridia new type of vertical farm with gardening support and assistance that clients can purchase through subscription.
  • Jessie Mooberry: Jessie is a tech specialist who teaches a “drones for good” seminar at the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab.
  • Pierre-Yves Paslier: co-founder of Oohoan innovative packaging material that can be used for water and other liquids like fruit juice. Composed of algae and other vegetable materials, the packaging is biodegradable in only 4-6 weeks, and can also be consumed along with the drink inside!


Stephen Ritz

These are only some of the many attractions and individuals that we’ll see at the Maker Faire Rome, and we can’t wait to get them all together under one disruptive roof. The Future Food hall at Maker Faire Rome will run from 1-3 December, and we hope to see you all there at Fiera di Roma!

Info, special fares and tickets here!

Purchase your ticket online here and skip the line!