Lichen food is at the heart of the 'Unseen Edible' project by Julia Schwarz who recently graduated from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Lichen is a symbiosis between a fungus and algae or cyanobacteria. The species is found growing on vegetation, tree bark and rocks.
The benefits of the multi-organism extend to the fact that it can grow in harsh climates and is fairly nutritious, potentially providing sustenance for humans through onsets of food shortage, an apocalypse or even on Mars. Julia Schwarz debuts the lichen food — from pasta and pesto to butter and bread, at Vienna Design Week, where individuals had the opportunity to taste the innovative meals. With 20,000 species and a growth on about six percent of the Earth, lichen food might prove a worthwhile investment.