Making Of

Making Of
Making Of
Making Of
Making Of
Making Of
Making Of

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How might we leverage local resources and ambitions in a remote neighborhood to trigger social innovation and business potential?

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We envisioned and fostered distribution and consumption of healthy produce in marginalized communities, embedded in a new local food economy.

Context

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.

Solution

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.

1

System Insight

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.

3

Prototype Insight

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.

2

Human Insight

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

2015-16

with Katie Edmonds, Selim Budeyri, Shibani Jadhav

Client/Partner

RISE Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, Edgemere Farm

Topics

Food Access, Sustainability, Public Health, Empowerment

Approaches

Applied User Research, Social Innovation, Participatory Design, System Thinking

Output

System Blueprint, Product Prototype, Branding Kit, Implementation Roadmap

Project Details

Food Suppy System

Residents don’t have much choice between foods like pizza or doughnuts. Nearly all food products sold in Edgemere are imported from outside the Rockaways. Chain stores employ residents but the business profits flow out of the neighborhood. After the hurricane Sandy, there was a mayor’s office initiative to reduce obesity secured initial funds for the farms.

© Christian Smirnow, Katie Edmonds, Selim Budeyri, Shibani Jadhav

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A Food Desert

Each of Rockaway’s small local farms carries different values that become visible through interactions with designated and random visitors. Situated in the immediate vicinity of the farms are few but busy retail-chains selling groceries and prepared foods. Prepared food counters and food trucks, as well as fast-food chains speak to the low quality of available prepared food.

© Christian Smirnow, Katie Edmonds, Selim Budeyri, Shibani Jadhav

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Consumer Interaction in Grocery Store

As most residents commute via subway, selling produce at this location would result in better exposure of residents to the product. An easy financial transaction would increase the likelihood that a consumer would purchase locally grown products.

© Christian Smirnow, Katie Edmonds, Selim Budeyri, Shibani Jadhav

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Made in Rockaway Online Portal

A website and resource portal representing all Made in Rockaway collaboration partners, businesses, and events. Food retailers and farmers have a back-end login to manage their seasonal crop-calendars and orders.

© Christian Smirnow, Katie Edmonds, Selim Budeyri, Shibani Jadhav

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Business Transaction

A clear communication of value, product availability and transaction documentation would increase the likelihood that a food retailer might consider a local farm as a source for produce.

© Christian Smirnow, Katie Edmonds, Selim Budeyri, Shibani Jadhav

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Farming Calendar & Order Sheet

Farmers and their sales representatives use a farming calendar and order sheets to sell products to local retailers.

© Christian Smirnow, Katie Edmonds, Selim Budeyri, Shibani Jadhav

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Food Stand at the Subway Stop

As most residents commute via subway, selling produce at this location would result in better exposure of residents to the product. An easy financial transaction would increase the likelihood that a consumer would purchase locally grown products.

© Christian Smirnow, Katie Edmonds, Selim Budeyri, Shibani Jadhav

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Rockaway Food Hub and Bicycle Delivery Service

Accessible through a smart phone app and at other sales points, residents can order food products and fresh produce from Made in Rockaway partners via bicycle delivery – an employment opportunity for high-school students.

© Christian Smirnow, Katie Edmonds, Selim Budeyri, Shibani Jadhav

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Branding Guide

A shared brand helps reduce the friction that slows down cooperation between farmers. Clear visual cues informing consumer that quality produce is grown in Rockaway increased the perceived value of local products.

© Christian Smirnow, Katie Edmonds, Selim Budeyri, Shibani Jadhav

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Contact

Christian Smirnow

Torstr. 24

10119 Berlin, Germany

smirnowstudios@gmail.com

Impressum DE

Imprint EN

© 2020 Christian Smirnow

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Making Of

In order to build stronger bonds with local farms and the neighborhood residents, we volunteered regularly at Edgemere farm.