OUR PROJECT: science, sustainability, and the future of food
In 2017, the restaurant Aponiente started a unique global project that kickstarted the growth of the “Marine Zostera”, an indigenous species that’s currently being farmed in an underwater garden on 3.000 m2, in the Cadìz Bay. The scientific committee of UNO’s Department of Fishing and Aquaculture expressed its great interest in this initiative, as the presence of Zostera helps and enriches the marine biodiversity: the areas where this plant grows are the richest of the ocean as several species in the marine fauna and flora depend on its presence to survive. The farming of Zostera along the coasts are also a good ally against climate change, because the plant can absorb and store great quantities of carbon in its sediment, other than protecting the coasts from erosion.
That’s not all. The true treasure hidden inside the Marine Zostera lies in its seed: Ángel León called it with evocative, yet rather telling names such as “marine cereal” or “sea wheat”. It can be either directly consumer, or transformed into flour and related products, such as bread and pasta. It’s a highly nutritional food: gluten free, rich with Omega 6 and 9, it has higher and better-quality proteins than the average terrestrial cereals (13%), carbohydrates (82%, of which about 50% are starch) and less than 2% of (vegetable) fats compared to rice, wheat, oats, corn, and barley. A superfood in disguise, which can become a fundamental resource to fight world hunger and malnutrition, if adequately perfectioned.
Growing Marine Zostera is also entirely sustainable: this is a perennial plant that doesn’t require new farming every year and it is very low maintenance despite its high productivity. Neither fertilizers, nor pesticides of any sort are ever needed for its growth. It is a strategic economic resource for several vulnerable areas all over the world.
Given that 71% of our planet is made of water, 97,5% of which is salty, this marine cereal paves the way to an extremely innovative way of farming that needs to be implemented at large scale to guarantee the production of a surprisingly qualitative, highly nutritious, eco-friendly food of the future.
Find out more about the Foundation’s commitment also at the Archipelago Restaurant where design,
haute gastronomy and sustainability meet: