Canadian Packaging

Jiminy Cricket that’s tasty!

By Canadian Packaging staff   

Design & Innovation Beakerhead Creative Society Evocative Design mushroom blocks SunSaluter Trico Charitable Foundation

Beakerhead Creative Society and Trico Charitable Foundation connect ingenuity and the social good spearheading crickets as a food-base or homes made of mushrooms.

mm_equationCALGARY—A cul-de-sac in Calgary, AB will become an outdoor gallery for a large-scale structure made from mushrooms this September as part of the annual smash up of art, science and engineering called Beakerhead.

The dwelling’s building blocks, made from mushroom spores and agricultural waste, are the brainchild of an entrepreneur whose original concept was to build packaging materials out of compostable materials rather than foam or plastic—which was done.

The mushroom blocks are one of five ‘Beakerhead for a Better World‘ projects that will be part of the Beakerhead experience this September 2015 through a partnership with Beakerhead Creative Society and the Trico Charitable Foundation.

The experiences will highlight how smash ups of art, science and engineering can help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges, including: re-imagining food (cooking classes involving cricket flour); re-imagining clothing (workshops on air purifying body suits); re-imagining energy (homemade solar harnessing devices) and even re-imagining the iconic example of ingenuity, the light bulb (installations using light bulbs with a lifespan of several decades).


“Engineering and art have deeply related traits that make them perfect tools for re-imaging how our world works. We believe that art and engineering can change the world, and through Beakerhead, Calgarians will experience five powerful examples. We hope these stories inspire our city to create their own solutions, combining art, engineering and social entrepreneurship for a better world,” says Trico Charitable Foundation executive chair Wayne Chiu. The Trico Charitable Foundation provokes innovation and builds capacity in social entrepreneurship.

“Human ingenuity requires the use of all your skills—both creative and technical. That’s what Beakerhead is all about. As a registered educational charity, we’re keen to partner with the Trico Charitable Foundation to show how these skills can be focused on making the world a better place,” says Beakerhead Creative Society president and co-founder Mary Anne Moser.

Beakerhead is a year-round initiative that culminates every September in five days of engineered works of art and interactive experiences, turning Calgary into a playground for new ideas that bring art and entertainment together with science and engineering. Everyone is welcome, and the majority of events are free.

The third annual Beakerhead will run September 16-20, 2015. The 2015 program highlights will be announced on June 10, 2015.

The following five installations will be presented at Beakerhead 2015 through the partnership with the Trico Charitable Foundation:

  • Mushroom Blocks: Architects and artists were invited to submit proposals of what they would build using 10,000 fungi bricks made by Ecovative Design, the creators of the organic mushroom blocks. As of release date, a short-list of entrants has been selected, and on June 10th the selected architecture/ artist group will be announced. The temporary art installation will be in the Kensington district of Calgary from September 16 – 20, and during this time the creators of this biomaterials and the winning design group will visit with select junior high, senior high and post secondary students to introduce students to the art, science and engineering of running their business.
  • Harness the Sun: Calgarian Eden Full, inventor and founder of SunSaluter, returns to her home turf to help Calgarians learn to build their own personal solar energy sources. In addition to public workshops, Eden will work with over 650 students across Calgary and surrounding communities in schoolyard-based workshops about renewable energy, solar power, water filtration, and human ingenuity.
  • Cooking with Crickets: Robert Nathan Allan of Aspire Food Group is an international expert at the forefront of the crickets-for-food movement. Partnering up with The Cookbook Co. Cooks, City Palate and Slow Food Calgary, cooking classes and talks will teach the public about cricket powder/flour, its multiple uses, the nutritional value and the potential global and environmental impact of shifting to this more sustainable protein source.
  • Illuminating the Future: Over 100 Nanoleaf light bulbs, the world’s most efficient light bulb with a lifespan of between 27 and 40 years, will create a pop-up, temporary lounge space at Beakerhead’s ultimate dining experience, called the Gorgeous Molecule.
  • Problem-solving Clothing: Dutch textiles innovator and fashion designer Borre Akkersdijk is known for a novel kind of work suit called the BB Suit – one that purifies air around it. During Beakerhead, the general public will get to experience the BB Suit roaming around public spaces in Calgary. Borre will also lead concept design workshops for engineers and designers to create clothing ideas that solve problems for the wearer or the world around them.

Established in 2008, the Trico Charitable Foundation seeks to promote innovation and capacity in social entrepreneurship in the Canadian context. It does this through a support program called Enterprising Non-Profits Alberta, helping develop Enterprising Non-Profits Canada, the biennial Social EnterPrize Awards, grants and partnerships. In 2013, Trico brought the Social Enterprise World Forum to Canada, and continues to learn from the global field with the addition of its U.K. office.

Beakerhead Creative Society is registered Canadian charity whose mandate is to advance education at the crossroads of art, science and education. This is achieved through year-round science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) experiences that engage more than 20,000 grade school children. For more information, visit


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