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Project 1 Documentation

Deb Pang Davis edited this page Sep 10, 2018 · 7 revisions

"Designing the Anti "Social" Network":

Project Objective

We currently live in an era in which we spend more time connecting via technology, social media, and social networks and more time physically away from each other than with each other. One might say that technology and social networks has made us artificially or superficially connected to each other rather than allowing us to genuinely connect as an authentic community or to develop authentic relationships with people. Ironically, technology and social platforms in general have made us more antisocial. Youth are more comfortable communicating via apps than they are talking to someone IRL (in real life).

Assuming the role of a designer, your objective for this assignment is work in small teams to research and analyze existing “social” networks and related products/features and to propose the design of a new system (or new feature to an existing system) to:

  • enhance an existing community;
  • enhance social interactions;
  • create a new community; and/or
  • enhance “how people weave together within communities and wider society as a whole” (CHI 2019 SDC)

Week One: Identities & Communities

This exercise was incredibly fun. We learned some more about each other and our interests. Fascinating and I felt I was among kindred spirits.

Week Two: Focus on a problem and Create Teams

We spent some time in class mapping the multitude of problems and pain points within healthcare and the health and wellness of people/communities. I could not have planned this any better as every topic was an interest (! ! !). In fact, I had met with Maria just a week earlier to brainstorm ideas for a project and food and farmers were among our top three.

Food Deserts

I learned about food deserts while studying clinical nutrition at the Maryland University for Integrative Health in a class that gave us an overview of how food and politics in communities. It was eye-opening and infuriating. Thankfully, aside from Maria, two others — Mackenzie and Laura — were also interested in tackling this problem as a team, too.

Week Three: Stakeholder mapping, Interviews and Project Planning

Identify Stakeholders

Our team started to map out our initial list stakeholders and came up with this:

Since that meeting, we met via Google Hangouts to identify more people to interview and determine what questions to ask. We also decided to create a group of questions that we would ask each person; something that might reveal some insight we wouldn't be able to capture by asking different questions to each person.

Individually, we did our own research and discovered some surprising people to interview, including a Top Chef and a roommate who lived in a food desert.

Here's a draft list of people we would love to interview (below) and we expanded on the stakeholder list as we learned more about the larger community.

After creating our draft list of people to interview, we created a draft list of questions to ask our interviewees. We also agreed to ask our interviewees a small number of the same questions to find out if there are any patterns or contradictions:

  • What is your definition of a food desert?
  • How can social media and technology play a larger role in raising awareness of food deserts?
  • What kind of cultural barriers exist to addressing food deserts?
  • Please tell me about how food access impacts one’s health?
  • What do you think is missing to help address food deserts?
  • How does your work help to address the food desert issue?
  • Who or what organizations are successful in addressing food deserts? How are they accomplishing it?
  • What is the biggest change that you would like to see within your community, in order to help eliminate food deserts?

We have four people in our group and tasked with interviewing 3 each. We opted to ask questions specific to each person:

For pediatrician:

  • Do you have patients who live in food deserts?
  • What common diseases do they have? Are these diseases directly related to unhealthy diet? Does other family member suffer from the same diseases as children?
  • Who are the main source of health education (parents, school, friends)? How would you help your patients to engage in health education?

For Registered Dietitian:

  • How does the diet of someone live in a food desert affect their overall well-being and health?
  • What are the factors that contribute to dietary behavior at a household or ‘family’ level?
  • How would you help someone change their lifestyle habits who has lived in a food desert?

For School Administrators:

  • How many students are affected by food deserts within your school?
  • How does being located within a food desert affect students? Does it affect their learning/focus or health/attendance within the classroom setting?
  • What is the school’s outreach for those families that are affected by lack of access to healthy food?

For Parents:

  • What are the biggest challenges of living within a food desert?
  • Tell me about where you buy fruits and vegetables. How far do you travel and how long does it take you? (Follow up: Why? Or I’d love to hear more about your transportation.)
  • Are there programs or Urban Gardens that you may participate in? What is the community outreach for living within a food desert?
  • What kind of fresh foods do you try to incorporate into your daily routine that are more nutritious, if any? How do you get access to those foods?
  • What is the biggest change within your community that you would like to see in order to help eliminate food deserts?

For Student: (If possible)

  • Do you provide your own meals for school? “Pack a lunch? Or eat at school?” Why?
  • What kind of meals are you provided with?
  • What kind of education is being provided on food, health and nutrition?
  • Are there programs or Urban Gardens that you may participate in? Would you be interested in being a part of an Urban Garden within your community of school?

For chefs Jeremy Ford and Michelle Bernstein:

  • What inspired you to join the #DrinkGoodDoGood social media campaign?
  • How can restaurants play an active role in raising awareness of food deserts?

For friend who lived in a food desert:

  • What was done to improve the situation while you lived there?
  • If you wanted fresh groceries, how did you go about getting them?
  • Did you know you were moving to a food desert?

For holistic health practitioner:

  • Do you have patients who live in food deserts?
  • How does the diet of someone live in a food desert affect their overall well-being and health?
  • How would you help someone change their lifestyle habits who has lived in a food desert?

For Health in the Hood:

  • What makes your program unique from other food desert outreach efforts?
  • How has your program affected the food desert population? Did raising awareness about food deserts lead to other benefits as well?
  • How were the head gardeners selected?

For Urban Oasis Project, Art Friedlich (President) and Jeannie Necessary, Board President and Food Systems Specialist, Agricultural Extension Office

  • Describe your long-term vision for Urban Oasis.
  • What motivated you to start Urban Oasis?
  • What makes the Urban Oasis Project different from other food desert organizations?
  • Tell me about some of your most successful campaigns. Why?
  • Tell me about a failure. What did you learn?
  • What barriers do people face to access healthy foods? (transportation is a big hurdle)
  • What challenges do you believe face food desert communities in the near future?
  • I’d like to hear more about your Urban Farmer Incubator Program.

Jeannie Necessary, Board President and Food Systems Specialist, Agricultural Extension Office

  • Tell me about your job as a Food Systems Specialist
  • What are the challenges for underserved communities at the policy level?
  • Tell me about SNAP and how it can help?
  • What programs—outreach initiatives, education, etc.— are doing well and what more would you like to see? (around the state, the country, the world.
  • What non-U.S. solutions are working in the world?
  • What challenges do farmers and organization who wish to help underserved communities face?
  • What are some of the psychosocial factors that may prevent people from going to a farmer’s market, a new grocery store, etc. in their neighborhoods?

For a Roger Horne, Local Farmer / Urban Garden

  • What motivated you to start an urban farm and garden as well as all of your other initiatives?
  • Tell me about farmers’ markets in general.
  • Tell me about any challenges or barriers Urban Greenworks has faced in bringing community gardening, education and other health initiatives to people?
  • How can schools be an access point for change?
  • What more needs to happen at the policy level to help address food and health in underserved neighborhoods?
  • What challenges do you (or farmers and gardeners) face in growing and feeding your communities?
  • What do you believe is most misunderstood about food deserts?
  • How does geography impact food access?
  • Which aspects of the local food environment (e.g., availability, price, convenience) are most relevant to health

**For Dave Brault, Small Farmer, Upstate New York **

  • In what ways does food access impact one’s health and/or the health of a community?
  • Who or what organizations are successful in addressing food deserts? How are they accomplishing it?
  • Tell me about what motivated you to be a farmer and in what ways farmers can help contribute to the solution of providing healthy food to people who lack access?
  • What would be the challenges/barriers as a farmer in contributing to the solution?
  • What benefits might you see?
  • Please tell me about your thoughts about farmer’s markets and their relationship to food deserts.

For David Policard, MPH, Jacmel, Haiti

  • What are some successful efforts to address the food desert issue?
  • Please tell me about policy and how it is affecting the disparity in diet and overall health.
  • What community relationships do you see would work best to help address public health? (Schools + local farmers? Food trucks + Doctors?)
  • What kind of solution would help to address food choices?
  • In addition to transportation and prices, what other barriers exist to access healthy food?

Note: We also decided that whatever solution takes shape, that we would want the solution to be applied/integrated in other cities; not just Florida. So, we opened up the list of people to interview nationally.

Legion Park Farmer's Market this Saturday — Field Trip!

This weekend, we will be heading to Legion Park Farmer's Market as a group to meet up with two people from the Urban Oasis Project — Art Friedlich, President of Urban Oasis Project and Jeannie Necessary, Board President and Food Systems Specialist, Agricultural Extension Office. We may also meet Roger Horne, a farmer who runs an urban farm and garden called Cerasee Farm through a non-profit called Greenworks.

It was helpful to speak with Art, Jeannie and Roger in person and to see their stand in the farmer's market. It's a small and close knit group. We accomplished all before the rains began!

Interviews and Summary

Interview: Art Friedrich, Food Activist, President, Urban Oasis Project

I was surprised to learn that the term “food desert” is frowned upon by some people who work with underserved communities unless they are speaking with policymakers or writing grants. In fact, the term, “food desert” further stigmatizes the people living in underserved communities. (There’s a psychological term for this but I can’t recall at the moment.) The efforts they have made to help those using SNAP with EBT cards at farmers’ markets is quite an accomplishment. We also discovered that there are not a lot of farms in the Miami area. Land prices and development pressures are too high to entice young farmers to produce. Art emphasized how knowledge and skills about growing food or to scale up to be a farmer is missing. There are groups that have farm incubator programs but most agriculture schools/education don’t focus on practical skills. (Jeannie Necessary refers to the knowledge and skills as part of the Spectrum of Prevention Toolkit). Behavior change is difficult which requires a cultural shift; proximity to grocery stores isn’t always the solution. Cultural barriers exist. Further, interventions need “buy-in” and that can only come with trust. (Designing WITH a community versus designing for a community). There is an incredible disconnect between people and food. We’ve lost touch with where and how our food is produced; take so much of it for granted. (Roger Horne hit on this as well)

Interview: Jeannie Necessary, Public Health Specialist, UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program, Miami-Dade County

“Technology is supposed to enhance and improve our lives. We should not [be living] in a country without access to healthy food.”

Note: We met Jeannie at the Legion Park farmer's market on Saturday with Art and I followed-up with her on Sunday.

I would like to follow-up with Jeannie since she had some interesting things to say about health literacy; that health literacy is critical to helping people within communities understand why eating healthy, fresh food is important. She shared how campaigns don’t work with most communities mainly due to the language used (“infant mortality” vs “infant deaths”). Similar to how web page content reaches the most people when written to, I believe, a middle-school level, any intervention must use words that most people understand. Compounding this are the cultural and social differences within each community. “People don’t understand what they are being told.”

I followed up with Jeannie today (9/9/18). She shared a bit of history of SNAP and mentioned how important it is to keep an eye on what is shaping up at the USDA (she lost her last job due to funding being cut off). She shared with me the “Spectrum of Prevention”, a toolkit for public health practice that works from the bottom up to creating more lasting change. The steps are as follows:

  • Strengthen individuals with knowledge and skills (education)
  • Work with providers to create nudges (e.g. stickers on vending machines that say, “make sure to check the calories”)
  • Foster coalitions and networking
  • Change policy and legislation to backup interventions and goals

She is skeptical about the effectiveness of social media but is open to investigating more. Her main question: For organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, are the 1+ million followers legit? Who are they? She’d like to know and understand their demographics. Her main priority is literacy. What language to use to best communicate health and wellness? For her, much of change is in education; communicating in a way people understand.

Organizational coalitions are full of politics and agendas; sometimes hidden but persistence can pay off albeit very slowly. (Roger Horne talks about breaking down silos and how organizations need to change how and what they do …). There are lots of personalities, efforts to claim credit and even more so today, limited funding. (Art also spoke about how many applications for grants have skyrocketed due to changes at the Federal level.)

Interview: Roger Horne, Co-Founder, Urban GreenWorks

Roger Horne is a force. Speaking with him is energizing and enlightening. We hope to follow-up with him as well. His view about “food deserts” is holistic; similar to how a naturopathic doctor or an integrative health practitioner looks at the whole person and not just the disease. He emphasized how important it is to design with the community; not just come up with ideas, gather people at a town hall and get feedback in an hour (this is how policy that affects people gets implemented). Establishing trust is mission critical to the success of any intervention. He also mentioned how the youth are critical to change. They are the change agents of any community.

There are many “problems” but funding (Jeannie and Art also talked about this) is problematic in many ways. There are “favorites” rather than need-based. Giving stuff, “entitlement” is also a problem. Farmer’s markets, he says, are “both the solution and the problem”. Farmer’s market signal gentrification which can demoralize a community.

It was interesting to note his example of a European model that is working: Foodscaping, where communities come together and decide which each person in the community is going to grow and then they share throughout the season. It is a “big farm” in the neighborhood. Everyone is invested and has an appreciation for farming. This is missing in the U.S. Again, a disconnect between how food is grown and gets onto the shelf.

Interview: David Brault, Small Farmer, Upstate New York

David Brault is a first-generation, small farmer based in Upstate New York. He admits he is not an expert on food deserts but took this interview as an opportunity to take a step back and think about food systems. His shares similar views to those of others we interviewed about health disparities; that because people lack of access to fresh and healthy foods, there is a loss of traditions but also understanding of where our food comes from. His view on farmer’s markets is an interesting contrast to others but his answers were more brief. There seems to be a disconnect compared to others we interviewed that farmer’s markets could simply be set up in food deserts. An interesting idea that he offered was how offering precise instructions and exact quantities of food (Blue Apron does this), could help resolve the disconnect and cultural barriers surrounding food (unfamiliar produce). He also mentioned a food demonstration kitchen that runs in my hometown at the market downtown.

Interviews: Our Findings (so far …)

  • The youth in underserved populations are most willing to participate and be the change agents within their communities.
  • Design interventions must be created WITH the community. It is mission critical to the long-term viability of any solution. For example, starting a farmer’s market in a community without the support and trust of the people in the community will never take off or succeed.
  • “Food desert” leaves a bad taste and further discriminates.
  • Organizations who help these communities need to collaborate to address larger goals other than their individual missions.
  • Health literacy is a core issue
  • A holistic approach and view is critical to change; interventions in isolation are not effective.

Other potential interviews: David Policard, MPH

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