Featured Image for This student serves his professor salad grown from his own body…for science of course

This student serves his professor salad grown from his own body…for science of course

If you think a strand of hair in your food is gross, wait ‘til you see food made from hair.

That’s what Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Thieu Custers did in a research project he calls Bodyponics, which seeks to use our own body waste – such as hair, pee, and sweat – to grow food.

“What if we would treat the body as a resource of which valuable materials can be harvested?” he wrote. “The human body not only takes in, but also gives out. Instead of pouring our waste down the drain, why not use it to sustain life spliced from our own?”

Thieu Custers

To find the answers to his questions, Custers saved his urine in pots in his bathroom, shaved his own head, and used a sweatsuit to harvest salt. Inspired by spaceflight and circular systems, he used these materials to fertilise produce such as lettuce, radishes, basil and chives.

With a bit of help from artificial light and extra water, he found that hair isn’t “structurally effective” to stabilise roots. Urine, however, which is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, makes for a great fertiliser.

Thieu Custers

Of course, when it was time to show his professors his findings, Custers knew exactly how to present it:

“I served a tiny salad to my teachers here, with lettuce, chives and Mustard Crest, garnished with human-made salt,” he told Fast Company.

“How did it taste? It may sound boring, but like a perfectly normal salad. In the end, all the materials I used are just exactly that, materials. They just so happen to come from my own body. Cow manure is also used on our lands to fertilise crops, and luckily you don’t taste that in our food.”

Thieu Custers

What do you think? Would you ever try food grown from human by-products?

Via Fast Company

About the author

Inigo is a writer and graphic designer from Manila, Philippines. He is a soldier of love who will carry you on his strong back of awesomeness when the zombie apocalypse arrives.