The Photosynthetic Restaurant: Gourmet Sunlight for Plants
Social evolution began with humans foraging and then taking command of fire. It expanded broadly through the cultivation of plants and the development of agriculture. Today, recipes are shared internationally, and the best-prepared cuisine is even considered an art form. Food, therefore, is an essential ingredient in the development of civilization, representing a fundamental distinction between humans and other species.
Plants, by contrast, take sunlight as it comes to them, a subsistence diet of random photons. Jonathon Keats believes that no organism—even plants—need live this way in modern times. He has therefore developed a gourmet cuisine for flora by mixing different wavelengths of light in appetizing combinations, making photosynthesis not only nutritious, but flavorful. His cuisine is featured here in the world's first photosynthetic restaurant.
While photosynthetic cuisine is new, Keats has a long history of catering to other species. He has choreographed ballet for honeybees by selectively planting flowers around their hives. He has also produced travel documentaries for houseplants by projecting videos of foreign skies onto their foliage in a darkened theater. More generally, Keats is an experimental philosopher. His efforts to share aspects of human culture with other species encourage us to scrutinize our own cultural values.