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The Future of Food

The Office of Sustainability had the honor of interviewing Kyle Schwab, Temple University’s Graduate Research Award Sustainability Program (GRASP) recipient, to learn more about how his research is affecting Temple students, our surrounding communities, and even our global climate.

The son of a chef with a passion for 3-D printing and biology, Kyle was destined to make waves in bioengineering and the sustainable food industry. Through GRASP, Kyle launched a visionary project that aims to revolutionize the way we eat by 3-D printing food. While printing food may sound like science fiction, Kyle’s graduate research aims to address some very real issues in food sustainability. 

The climate is changing and so should our actions.

According to Kyle, climate change has significant implications for global food stability. He explains that altered weather patterns due to climate change can cause issues such as draughts for farmers. Issues such as frequent droughts or extreme weather events directly affect our food supply by diminishing crop yields, which in turn impacts livestock and other agricultural sectors.. 3-D printing gives us the opportunity to control our food production, rather than relying on traditional agriculture. 

We contribute to climate change every day without even realizing. Kyle elaborates on this concept by explaining how the food we eat affects our ecological footprint. On Temple’s campus, like other colleges, all of our food locations produce tons of waste from  plastic packaging and excess food. In order to please students and faculty, we mass produce for the promise of convenience. Kyle states that by solely printing the exact amount of food we need, there is no longer the need for waste or the pollution that comes along with shipping food. 

3-D printing food is “a direct solution to climate change”.

Kyle explains that by merging his skill sets in bioengineering, the equipment the department provides, and an interdisciplinary team of problem solvers within the bio and sustainability spheres, we could solve the problem of food sustainability while simultaneously furthering developments within the bioengineering industry.

3-D printing food takes raw material and allows you to choose the exact taste, texture, shape, flavor, and quantity of food you need. There is no need to shop, deliver, or waste anything in the process. Kyle discusses the idea of a 3-D printer vending machines where students can order from their phone and pick it up ready to eat. His research can come up with “a new way to process food”, rather than the current wasteful ways.

Advice from our expert!

Kyle Schwab conducting his graduate research in the lab.

To learn more about 3-D printing and its effects on our climate, we are excited to announce our GRASP Lunch and Learn event on October 14th, from 12 pm – 1 pm in Engineering 930A. You will learn more about GRASP award winner, Kyle Schwab and his research on “Sustainable 3D Printing with Soy-derived Bioink.”. Visit sustainability.temple.edu/about-us/calendar/grasp-lunch-and-learn for more details!

Check out our short documentary on Kyle and the research he has conducted after winning the Office of Sustainability’s GRASP award. If you are eager to conduct your own graduate research, Kyle also discusses how the award helped him along his journey and gives plenty of advice to those looking to apply.

Applications for the GRASP award open in the Spring with a deadline of April 15th. If you are interested in applying, visit sustainability.temple.edu/GRASP for more information. The future of sustainability is in our hands, and we can’t wait to see what you come up with the bring us one step closer to a cleaner and greener future.

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