Iche_Food for thought: a hub for glocal innovation
San Vicente, Ecuador
image: public domain
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Location:
San Vicente, Ecuador
Category:
meeting place
Phase:
design development
Updated:
10 August 2021
The NGO FUEGOS and the B-Corp La Secreta built the Food School - Restaurant - FoodLab Iche in the rural area of Manabi (Ecuador) to transform the crisis left by an earthquake and the pandemic into an opportunity.

We plan to expand Iche as an interdisciplinary artist residency that provides space for creative work, bringing talents from around the world to exchange knowledge with local communities and co-create more sustainable societies.
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Introduction
FUEGOS and La Secreta developed the “Food for Change“ in Manabi (Ecuador) as a response to the April 2016 earthquake that took over 700 lives, left thousands homeless, caused billions of dollars in damages, destroyed infrastructure, productive capacity, and the social fabric of the province of Manabí.  We strongly believed that the crisis caused by the earthquake and the pandemia could become an opportunity to unleash creativity to build more resilient, democratic, and inclusive societies. Food has the potential to become an engine that promotes innovation, collaboration, and progress. It also creates opportunities for disadvantaged youth and women in underserved communities. 

In addition to the Food School, we also established the Iche Food Lab, conceived as a state-of-the-art venue for the co-creation of new ways of valuing traditional Manabi food and products, with innovations based on the culinary identity of the province. Students at the Food School will collaborate with experts in cooking and sustainable agriculture, who will be invited to tackle specific challenges in order to co-create innovative prototypes that allow for new ways to prepare products from the farm and the sea, constantly aiming at combining traditional knowledge with the latest technological know-how. The innovative culinary creations of the Iche Food Lab will then be disseminated, commercialized and shared, to be used and enjoyed across the globe.
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Impact
Following the learning-by-doing philosophy, the Iche Food School is training 13 students, as well has also thought different course to local women and youth, as well as 80 rural producers and 100 gastronomic entrepreneurs from Manabi province to make possible a transition towards more sustainable food production methods, culinary innovation, responsible consumption, and associativity, that achieves greater coordination between the different links in the value chain. 

In parallel to the training processes, the project is establishing the first food innovation network made up of three laboratories located in different regions of Ecuador. This Network will develop a joint research agenda that will promote the combination of traditional knowledge and scientific knowledge and the participation of actors from the entire gastro-food value chain. With the advice of the Basque Culinary Center (“BCC”), an internationally recognized center for its trajectory in the gastronomic sector, ICHE opens collaborative research methodologies and protocols to generate and promote laboratories.

Additionally, the exchange of researchers will be promoted between the laboratories of the network with the universities and the private sector, seeking to catalyze an ecosystem of innovation and gastro-food entrepreneurship in Ecuador.

As a result of this component, the reinvention of recipes and local products will be achieved through prototypes with potential for the food and catering industry. It will be sought that the processes have a "health" approach, good practices in food handling, and safety with a technological approach.
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Core team
The Food School - Restaurant - Lab Iche is a space of knowledge sharing and open innovation. In our classrooms producers, entrepreneurs and experts meet around food to increase their capacities to understand the causes of the most pressing challenges their communities are facing, as well as develop their own capacities to work together around concrete projects for mutual improvement. 

At the Food School leaders from the local communities that surround it share their knowledge and experiences with students. At the Food Lab, local producers and experts meet to share traditional as well as scientific knowledge to co-create new recipes and products that are healthy and with the potential to generate wealth in local communities. 
Given the potential of food to bring together people from different sectors and from rural and urban areas, our ultimate goal is to increase capacities for collaboration at the local, regional, national, and international levels. 

Gastronomy can catalyze other artistic expressions and creative industries such as design, music, painting, and cinema, among others. For this reason, as a next phase of the project, we plan to build, together with the School and Foodlab, a cultural residence that receives local and international artists to promote art as a development strategy and as a fundamental component of the systems of well-being, mental health, and social cohesion.
Iche students

image: Orazio Belletini | © all rights reserved
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Image gallery
Exterior view _ 2

image: FUEGOS | © all rights reserved
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Iche Exterior view

image: FUEGOS | © all rights reserved
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Restaurant view

image: FUEGOS | © all rights reserved
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Food school area

image: FUEGOS | © all rights reserved
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Food school

image: FUEGOS | © all rights reserved
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Restaurant area

image: public domain
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Manabita Oven (horno manabita)

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Visitos at ICHE

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Farming area

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Farming space

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Traditional cousine

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Exterior view night

image: Enrique Mora | © all rights reserved
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Foodlab night

image: Enrique Mora | © all rights reserved
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Interior view

image: Enrique Mora | © all rights reserved
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Technical drawings
Impact _ Iche description

image: Enrique Mora Gaudy Orejuela | © all rights reserved
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Core Team

image: Enrique Mora Gaudy Orejuela | © all rights reserved
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PROJECT PHASES

image: Enrique Mora y Gaudy Orejuela | © all rights reserved
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Phase 1: Iche School, restaurant, food lab

image: Enrique Mora y Gaudy Orejuela | © all rights reserved
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Phase 2: ICHE ART CENTER

image: Enrique Mora y Gaudy Orejuela | © all rights reserved
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ICHE MASTERPLAN

image: Enrique Mora Architects | © all rights reserved
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Implantation _ Iche School / Restaurant / Foodlab (phase 1)

image: Enrique Mora Architects | © all rights reserved
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Floor plan Iche School / Restaurant / Foodlab (phase 1)

image: Enrique Mora Architects | © all rights reserved
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1st floor plan Iche School / Restaurant / Foodlab (phase 1)

image: Enrique Mora Architects | © all rights reserved
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SECTIONS _ Iche School / Restaurant / Foodlab (phase 1)

image: Enrique Mora Architects | © all rights reserved
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Construction section A

image: Enrique Mora Architects | © all rights reserved
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Render ICHE

image: Enrique Mora Architects | © all rights reserved
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Bar render

image: public domain
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Food school area

image: public domain
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Restaurant area

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Phase 2: Cabins for artist (type a)

image: Enrique Mora Architects | © all rights reserved
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Phase 2: Cabins for artist (type b)

image: Enrique Mora Architects | © all rights reserved
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Phase 2: Artist Workshop

image: Enrique Mora Architects | © all rights reserved
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Project description

image: Enrique Mora Architects | © all rights reserved
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Help bring our project to life!

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Help bring our project to life!
Where are we now
Phase #1: Iche _ School / Restaurant / Foodlab (built)
We have finished the construction of this spaces. We opened the Iche Food School in April 2021 and the FoodLab in July of this year. The space has enabled several encounters among actors from the food value chain including producers, entrepreneurs, local governments. We strongly believe that this space could also promote the flourishment of other artistic and intellectual expressions. That is why, we are planning to build and continue with a 2nd phase as part of the project, an artistic residence that, around the fire of the communal kitchen, promote the exchange of local and global challenge to create art and ideas to build a new normality post the global pandemic.
An indication of our team’s capacity:
50% funding already raised
70% expertise already found
40% materials / equipment already found
50% builders already found
Finance: € 78,000
Phase #2: Iche Art Center (design planning and construction)
For the next stage we are planning to finish the architectural and engineer studies for the artists cabins and workshops which will include 3 main spaces (creative space): painting, ceramics and music. This area will serve as a catalyst for artistic expressions around the gastronomy and traditions of manabitan culture. The workshops will be around 300 sqm 

Until now, the study of different types of cabins has been developed to host the invited artists during their residency. It is planned to continue with the design studies of these prototypes and subsequently achieve the construction of 2 cabins of 50 sqm each one.
  • Design and engineering services
10,000
  • Contractors and subcontractors fees
3,000
  • Building materials and equipment
30,000
  • Landscape, infrastructure and sustainable energy
10,000
  • Labor
20,000
  • Transportation, printing, internet
5,000
Help bring our project to life!
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