Fermenting food in Scotland’s schools: A design-led dissertation project — Part 6: Conclusion

Emilie Schaefer
11 min readSep 14, 2021


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This work is a highly interdisciplinary design project, as it calls for many different design domains, like service design, interaction design, interface design, policy design… But as these design practices are in this case all required to design around sustainable food systems, this project can be considered as a Sustainable Food System Design project (Zampollo, 2016). The use of the Systemic Design Framework allowed to adopt an adapted system-centred approach to the primary and secondary research around Scotland’s food behaviours’ wicked problems and offered a holistic and agile mindset by suggesting collaborative concrete activities throughout the project’s iterative design journey.

The work’s outcome, a service that rearranges the current food and health education systems in Scotland by providing primary schools with the framework to hold fermentation workshops with children, represents a real potential for behavioural change. By introducing new narratives about food-related practices, this intervention can indeed initiate more sustainable and healthier food behaviours not only for children, but also for their family, and even reduce the Gender Care Gap.

Considering fermenting food as a non-human teacher also challenges traditional education methods. The intervention’s limitations can be linked to its capacity to be widely adopted, depending on the stakeholders’ remaining perceived socio-economic constraints. It can also be argued that the service should not only induce sustainable behaviours, but also be more sustainable itself, for example by using recycled jars for the workshops, or by restricting the carbon footprint of its website by adopting the Green IT rules (De Decker, 2021). Nevertheless, as this intervention might first need to prove its impact to be able to expand, the aesthetic constraints of these more low-tech web design rules could be an obstacle in the service’s acceptance and can rather be part of future iterations.

Finally, this work participates in the construction of a more sustainable practice of design, by testing recent methodologies and informing future work about Scotland’s food behaviours, promoting design-led change.

Photo by The Matter of Food on Unsplash


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