Last week, our Director of Programming Ken Snyder led a design thinking workshop at The FreshLo Convening, an annual gathering of community leaders working towards a food system that is fresh, local and equitable. The interactive session looked at applied strategies for designing creative solutions to accessing local food. 

The Question

We asked participants to think about the last time they bought, prepared or consumed local food. We encouraged the group to empathize with the situation, and start with the emotion of the experience. 

The Workshop

With that question in hand, we challenged participants to dig deeper, and ultimately design a product, idea or approach that would be a better solution to their experience:

  1. We paired participants into groups of two and prompted the groups with several rounds of interview questions.
  2. These questions uncovered the specifics around their chosen experience with local food; and identified how that experience could have been different or better.
  3. We then guided participants through our “City As Play” exercise – which uses small scale art models to design hands-on solutions.
  4. Each pair then presented their solution to the group as a whole. 

Two New Ideas

1. Local Food On-The-Go

  • The experience: one participant expressed a challenge in finding local food while traveling, as opposed to eating junk food at the airport.
  • The new idea: the group developed the concept for a mobile hot plate or container, so that you can easily bring your own food while traveling and on-the-go.

2. Community Garden Sharing

  • The experience: one participant expressed interest in participating in the community garden next to her office building, but didn’t have enough time to harvest the food frequently enough without wasting. 
  • The new idea: the group designed a solution to create a schedule where everyone at work participates in the community garden, taking turns harvesting the food and then sharing produce with everyone involved. 

Are you interested in hosting a design workshop with your team? Our team specializes in designing creative solutions to community-centered challenges. Reach out and let us know! We’d love to meet you.