Grains for Brains

Delving into the ‘world of grains’, team, a collective based in the remote Alpine village of Topolò and mentored by designer and food futurist Carolien Niebling, is drawing on Slovenia’s rich cultural, agricultural and culinary heritage to redesign traditional Slovenian use of buckwheat. Referencing an old pratike, Slovene farmers’ almanac, Robida developed a new format of recipe book where content is organised through time, following the lifecycle of the plant.



Carolien Niebling



Team Members

Elena Braida
Dora Ciccone
Juna Horstmans (cover)
Kim Lang
Francesca Lucchitta
Elena Rucli
Vida Rucli
Vid Skrbinšek
Janja Šušnjar



Buckwheat cycle

Infographic printed with buckwheat ink on textile, Robida, cotton textile

Photo: Klemen Ilovar / MAO



How can we re-establish a connection with the process of transforming plants into human food? How can we consider a specific food not only for its health benefits but also for its effects on the surrounding bioregion? How can seasonal growing cycles be expressed in a publication?

As a response to critical conditions – climate change, the global food industry, overconsumption of meat, and a crisis in grain supplies because of the war in Ukraine – Robida is trying to find the tools to raise awareness of the food cycle, from landscape to plate.Simultaneously, the group is trying to stimulate local production and consumption in two different contexts: at Ljubljana’s Krater and at their home in Topolò. The focus is on buckwheat (Slovene: ajda), a pseudograin with a key role in Slovenian cuisine and culture.

Robida gathers and shares knowledge that evokes the Slovenian Alps and the region’s resources through the embodied practices of cooking, eating, smelling, making and storytelling related to the whole cycle of buckwheat’s life. Buckwheat can be seen as a super vernacular plant, not only as a rediscovered traditional food, but as a crop capable of facing contemporary environmental issues. It can survive in difficult conditions and poor soils as well as have a positive effect on human health and the environment.


Publikaction Ajda Pratika: Buckwheat from Landscape to Table

Robida with Juno Hortsmans, Published by Association Robida, Knotweed paper Notweed (Trajna), paper, 1000 free copies. Read the publication on Issuu ↗

Photo: Klemen Ilovar / MAO; Robida


Podcast series – Buckwheat stories and Dindin

Robida and guests (Giulia Soldati, Sophia Dorfsman, Dora Ciccone, Vida Rucli, Francesca Lucchitta, Elena Braida, Max van der Wal), Audio podcast, 04:00 h.





Moodboard from the research



Public Programme

Workshops Soba Noodles with Kurataro Takeishi and Two-day workshop with wild plants, from foraging to preparing them with Vid Skrbinšek

Photo: Robida





Team Robida based in the remote Alpine village Topolò.

Photo: Robida