Date of Award
Master of Industrial Design
Jonathan Bishop Highfield
Many Rhode Islanders lack access to local food system education. They struggle to connect with local food outlets as well as understand why supporting a resilient local food community matters. Local food producers face great challenges within the system such as finding stable ways to produce, distribute, and sell their merchandise. In addition, the RI government’s agricultural marketing efforts are not innovative and local food-centric nonprofits are swamped with work resulting in the outsourcing of creative marketing jobs that have yielded questionable results. In order to engage with a wider audience, both the government and the non-profit sector need to be more experimental and innovative to increase public awareness. Public awareness, in conjunction with other efforts to increase access to local food, all assist in the greater goal of building a resilient local food system in which there is a healthy demand for a vibrant local food infrastructure as well as space and support to grow local food.
Through a series of designed accessible experiences that engage and inform consumers while providing producers with more economic stability (through increased marketing and community support), Ocean State Food Stories aims to connect the public to the terroir of the Rhode Island region. I have designed free, mobile interactive agrotourism experiences that bring to urban environments key food system updates and information as well as stories from farmers and fishermen through sensorial play; in doing so, these experiences create a greater sense of place and community for the participants. The use of both senses and storytelling simultaneously creates a more memorable experience which builds a connection to the producers and their processes, which for many is completely unknown. This connection along with the information provided encourages participants to visit the producers’ sites and source their products. Ocean State Food Stories is designed to be a case study that other urban areas can follow.
Clement, Charlotte, "Ocean state food stories" (2020). Masters Theses. 562.
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