How might we create a playful learning experience that engages Parramore youth curiosity in community food culture? We set out to answer this challenge using the human-centered design approach, immersing, learning, and empathizing as much as we can during what human-centered design calls the “inspiration phase.” Where our long-term goal is to challenge learners to discover how their passions link with the neighborhood food environment and for them to realize their power to positively impact it, our short term goal is to understand and define those passions.
We’ve interviewed experts, extremes, and mainstreams alike. One of our experts reinforced our mission to empathize with our learners by inspiring us to “explore the voice of the neighborhood.” By diving into as many Parramore centers as we could, we found new opportunities with an amazing youth-serving organization called New Image Youth Center. Our relationship has helped us to understand how much we have to learn from the youth, and to see where and how we are able to make the biggest impact. We’ve since decided to expand on our playlist suite to include anti-violence initiatives (and barber shop skills!)
In the past three months, we have done rapid prototyping and taken those XP prototypes to the inspection at the biweekly “swarm ride” for user testing. Swarm ride brings together a wide variety of personalities in the form of volunteers, so we were able to user test with children, adults, and everything in between. We talked to people who knew about farming, some who knew little about farming, people who go to swarm for friendship, people who go for knowledge, and people who go just to try something new. What role does fleet farming play in the food culture of our neighborhoods?
We are currently prototyping XP’s for our suite of playlists and through user testing, adapting them to the needs and wants of our learners. By March, our learners will be investigating different sides of the food system through digital media including topics in food access, new-farm-tech, cooking science, food in the media, and food ecology all while growing food, developing empathy for neighborhood challenges, and form deeper connections with their peers and community.
We are stepping towards our desired outcomes. In a neighborhood where the closest grocery store is miles away, food justice is an outcome that could heavily change the health of the neighborhood.
Our current logistical challenge asks: “When students are on their computers all day for school, how might we make digital media a desirable free-time activity?”