How might we leverage local resources and ambitions in a remote neighborhood to trigger social innovation and business potential?
We envisioned and fostered distribution and consumption of healthy produce in marginalized communities, embedded in a new local food economy.
Far Rockaway in Queens, NYC, is considered a food desert: the majority of the local community are black and latino citizens lack access to healthy, sustainable food, while fast food and very limited one-stop-shopping options dominate the local food economy.
After Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, though they seemed insufficient to many, the momentum sparked action among a group of engaged residents and three farms were founded in the Edgemere neighborhood. Residents responded well to their new agricultural neighbors, but continued to buy food imported into Far Rockaway, and retailers continued their standard process of buying from large food distribution hubs.
This neighborhood has all the components of a local food system, but these components are not operating as such. We designed a long-term strategy and roll-out plan to establish FarRock as a viable food ecosystem catering to its population with healthy, fresh produce while invigorating the local economy.
Through cross-farm collaboration of local organic farms, both agricultural resources and political advocacy can be leveraged to improve land usage towards growing healthy produce. The local youth can gain business opportunity by farming and delivering products to households and shops via a local micro-scale delivery system.
Even though a neighborhood contains all the presets for a functioning production-distrubution-consumption-post-consumption food system, commercial grocery chains extract revenue by selling imported goods.
Farmers, local citizens, and business owners are curious to have access to better, healthier food products and see the potential to improve their life quality.
Citizens in FarRock internalized the image of their empoverished neihborhood, not seeing any value in its potential, and subjecting themselves to unhealthy convenience food and cheap groceries.
Made in Rockaway
A strategy to grow a local food economy
with Katie Edmonds, Selim Budeyri, Shibani Jadhav
RISE Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, Edgemere Farm
Food Access, Sustainability, Public Health, Empowerment
Applied User Research, Social Innovation, Participatory Design, System Thinking
System Blueprint, Product Prototype, Branding Kit, Implementation Roadmap