‘The Denise’ reimagines ancient food storage ideas

Canadian entrepreneurs Gabrielle Falardeau and Elyse Leclerc have a Kickstarter campaign to manufacture 'The Denise', a non-refrigerated fresh food storage system.
Canadian entrepreneurs Gabrielle Falardeau and Elyse Leclerc are running a Kickstarter campaign to manufacture ‘The Denise’, a non-refrigerated fresh food storage system.

I’m inspired today by a Canadian Kickstarter campaign raising funds to create ‘The Denise’, a modular fresh food storage system based on ancient food storage techniques, designed to keep food within sight and prevent waste.

According to the designers “Most fruits and vegetables don’t tolerate fridge temperatures and therefore deteriorate faster than they should. The Denise allows them to be stored at room temperature without using energy sources. The three sections each call for a new healthy and respectful attitude towards food, as well as battling food waste.”

The top section is half-filled with sand to store root vegetables upright and prevent moisture loss. This technique is inspired by the cellars of old, where vegetables were stored to last throughout winter.

The middle section, or fruit bowl, allows for watering of fruit and vegetables that need to be hydrated daily for optimum storage, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, lemons, kiwis, peaches and pears. The water collects in the ceramic try under a timber rack for continual refreshment.

The bottom, or dark section, stores apples on top of a drawer of potatoes and sweet potatoes and air circulates between the two as they have mutual conservation properties. A lower drawer stores garlic, french shallots and onions.

By keeping fresh food within plain view, it is less likely to go to waste.

Food waste is a huge issue and feeding a growing and urbanising world population is of great concern to the Food and Agriculure Organization of the United Nations (UNFAO). Part of the solution will need to be growing more food in cities, including growing more food individually and communally, and eating more seasonally.

The system designed by Gabrielle and Elyse at Jarre is elegant and functional: an ancient idea re-imagined for a low-carbon future. I can imagine similar systems becoming the norm in sustainable, off-grid homes, along with vegetable gardens, herb boxes, fruit trees and chickens outside.

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