With the aim of disseminating and strengthening the knowledge of seaweed about the opportunities offered by 3D printing to innovate with seaweed, this Tuesday, July 18, the second working day of the “Hierbas de mar” project was held at the Faculty of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the U. de Chile. The initiative seeks to value macroalgae and the trade of algae communities as part of a healthy, sustainable and innovative diet through co-production.
Monserrat Lorca, journalist Vexcom U. de Chile.- The project “Hierbas de mar” was one of the seven winning initiatives of the 2022 call for proposals from the Valentín Letelier Fund of the Vice-Rector for Extension and Communications of the University of Chile. The initiative, postulated jointly by the faculties of Medicine; Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Communication and Image; and by the Vice-Rector for Research and Development, proposed active work together with the Federation of Christmas Artisanal Fishermen and the municipality of this commune in the O’Higgins Region.
Within its annual programming, “Hierbas de Mar” began its work in June by publicizing the project in the field of artisanal fishing. Now, this Tuesday, July 18, the second workshop was held at the Food Process Engineering Laboratory. Segmented into four stages, the day allowed share knowledge with algueras de Navidad about the application of different drying technologies, grinding of dehydrated seaweed and sieving, optimal formulation of ingredients and -finally- 3D printing of seaweed-based products.
Rescuing ancestral culinary and territorial knowledge, the second learning day explored new innovation methodologies, which allowed delving into the versatility of this ancestral food. In this space, more than twenty algueras of the Christmas commune incorporated new technical elements on the matter, thanks to the joint work of the team that included Alonso Vásquez, Food Engineering student; Alfredo Henríquez, laboratory technician; Roberto Molina and Geraldine del Río, both students of the aforementioned career.
Link between ancestral knowledge and academic knowledge
The president of the La Boca Union Fishermen’s Union and leader of the Christmas Fishermen’s Federation, Cecilia Masferrer, expressed his happiness to be part of the project. «We have been working with the seaweed for 17 years and we had never worked with a university. That’s why, I have the dream and the hope that this is the first step of many more that we can take together. We need the academy and we must complement each other“, he claimed.
Besides, highlighted the qualities of the algae and maintained the importance of collaboration with the University of Chile to show them to the world. “Today the nutritional qualities of algae are on the rise and we have done so for many years, but I think it is essential to be able to promote and establish a tremendous alliance between Christmas and the University.”
Regarding the development of this conference, the director of Extension and Communications of the Faculty of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the U. de Chile, Richard Solís, highlighted the relevance of developing crosses between academic research and the ancestral knowledge of the communities, fostering alliances from the affections and not only from the professional. «All the funds are relevant projects for what we are building as a society, not only from the university level, but also to understand how the university community also opens up to the outside world and a loving dialogue can take place between ancestral knowledge and academic knowledge».
The person in charge of the project and academic of the Faculty of Medicine, paulina larrondo, emphasized how significant was the participation of algueras entering a university classroom. Besides, He thanked the possibility offered by the Valentín Letelier Fund, which he indicated “makes it possible for the algueras to be here, in an instance of camaraderie and fellowship.” He also valued their presence “as a group of unionized and salaried women, being part of joint activities, giving the University of Chile the opportunity to promote, support and strengthen this work”.
heinz wuth, event Attendee, popularizer and cook specializing in scientific gastronomy, commented that by uniting the disciplines of science and gastronomy, many interesting properties can be found in products such as algae. In addition, he highlighted the fulfillment of the social role of the University by promoting projects of this type. «We are supporting a product that is very noble, good, nutritious. The University gives us this information that will be key to being able to share it. It is very good that these types of instances exist. We need this type of support, because it requires time and resources.
About Sea Herbs
This project is intended to co-construct, together with algae communities, strategies and practices that favor the appreciation of their trade, showing from the sustainable harvesting of algae and healthy eating to food innovation. With a methodology based on co-production and action research, the initiative also seeks to contribute to local development, with a focus on rights and participation, and fair trade principles. From the exchange of knowledge between ancestral knowledge, science, technology and the field of health, it seeks to give continuity in an articulated way to initiatives that have been worked together with seaweed and shore collectors since 2007.