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With new roads, buildings, pavilions and public transport being built and armies of young volunteers, industry leaders and chefs forming exciting collaborations, Expo Milano 2015 is set to be the event of the year.
20 million people are expected to visit the city of Milan during the six month expo and just like the excited revealers who marched on Crystal Palace in 1851 for the world’s first ever Universal Exposition, those attending are in for a world of discovery, a six month world stage that's set to showcase ‘technology, innovation and discovery’.
World Expos have always focused on a specific topic - industry, automobiles, agriculture and arts - even The French Revolution - have all been used as the focus. In 2015 the Universal Exposition will, for the first time ever, focus on food, specifically looking at the ‘problems of nutrition and the resources of our planet’.
The central theme for Expo Milan 2015 is ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’, with the idea of opening up an international dialogue between countries all over the world to tackle major issues such as: ’Is it possible to guarantee water and food for the entire world population? Is it possible to increase food security? Is it possible to have new solutions that take into account the planet’s biodiversity?” Stimulating a conversation that forces visitors to ask questions about how our actions today will impact the next generation.
These dialogues will take place across a number of events, shows, conferences and the daily offerings of each country’s specific pavilion with entrepreneurs, researchers, experts, chefs and artists all in Milan to in someway interpret the them of ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’.
On top of all this activity there will be five thematic areas for visitors to explore a whole world of possibilities, starting a Pavilion Zero which introduces visitors to the theme of Expo Milano 2015, immersing them into Earth’s crust via caves of darkness and a “valley of civilisation”. Here they’ll be told a story that begins at the start of human history and ends with on the paradox regarding nutrition we all face today.
Other pavilions include The Future Food District - a micro universe that explores new ways for people and food to interact - here they will apply The Internet of Things concept and look at how our food will look in the future. There will also be a biodiversity park, arts and food and a children’s park which is dedicated to exploring the Expo’s theme through fun.
With a 144 countries taking part in the Expo, it would be easy to split the offerings geographically. Instead the team have decided to breakdown the different sites by 9 important clusters that will help to define the different communities in the pavilions. Rice, Cocoa, Coffee, Fruit & Legumes, Spices, Cereal, Bio-Mediterraneum, Islands, Sea and Food and Arid Zones will make up the clusters by common theme and food group instead of nationality.
S.Pellegrino will be the official water partner of Milan Expo 2015 and the Italian Pavilion, managing its water-themed Piazzetta, and some of the world’s best chefs will be on hand to represent their countries: Gaston Acurio will work for Peru, Jorge Vallejo will cook for Mexico and the Italian chef Massimo Bottura plans to open an ambitious project collaborating with visiting chefs to cook leftover ingredients and turn them into wonderful dishes. Highlighting the issue of food waste and the fact that with the right work, ingredients destined for the trash can become a masterpiece.
Every country will offer their own unique shows and exhibits in their own custom built spaces with huge vertical farm the size of a football pitch, interactive art shows, multi-sensory museums and even a full crop field to display farming with the Chinese lunisolar calendar.
This is the biggest food event of the century - MAD, Mesamerica, Gastronomika and Harvard’s Food and Science Lectures rolled into one, including artists, designers, chefs, philosophers, scientists, doctors, world leaders and policy makers who will attend, speak, present and learn from the Expo.
How to feed the planet in a future with dwindling resources and a growing population is a very real issue and one that poses a number of hard questions and on May 1st to October 31st the world will come together in Milan to hopefully find some answers.