Better World Challenge
The Grocery Loop
Lindsay Kinkade, Erika Tarte, and Beth Weaver
Built on the cost-effective and environmentally-friendly model of adaptive reuse, the Grocery Loop is a public transportation system that provides access to nutrition, encourages community engagement, and promotes environmental sustainability. The Grocery Loop integrates bus lines into the existing public transportation system. Low-emission hybrid diesel buses run in a continuous loop stopping at a diverse selection of stores, from farmers markets to specialty shops to large grocery stores. Both buses and bus shelters provide seating and storage that is optimized for transporting food. Real-time GPS tracking information is displayed to keep riders informed of arrivals and departures. Once riders are on the Grocery Loop, they know exactly where they’re going – to the grocery store.
Route 4 Fruit
Mobile food markets are a strong first step in eliminating food deserts because they open up the market for fresh produce by instilling confidence in producers and consumers. The program design of Route 4 Fruit is illustrated by the following steps: coalition building within community and government, fund raising for the cost of the vehicle, creating business connections with local growers, community education among customers, and finally embarking upon market days.
Shopping at urban farmers markets allows people to reduce their environmental impact, buy organic food, form a direct connection with local farmers, and establish a healthy lifestyle. However, it is not always easy to carry large amounts of food home from a farmers market when most shoppers walk or use public transport. This obstacle keeps farmers markets from reaching their full potentials. Cycles Delivery seeks to address this problem by creating a bicycle delivery system operated out of the markets that will not only make shopping there more convenient but will also cut down on carbon emissions.
The Roots Project
The Roots Project is a community-based action plan to help eliminate food deserts. Components of the plan include: a “Li’l Native” program to teach kids about food, farms and ecology; a “Community Partners” program to connect mentoring organizations, community gardens, and community outreach efforts; and a “Community Roots” program to empower women through education and entrepreneurship.
The idea for the foodmobile came from the need for a way to transport more nutritious fruits and vegetables into areas devoid of produce. Here, the form of transportation becomes the solution as the vehicle used to carry the food from its source plays a dual role as the storefront to market it to the community. Inspired by similar organizations such as Meals on Wheels and book mobiles, the foodmobile solution brings the fruits and vegetables to the communities in need.
Get Greens and Go
People who live in urban areas should take control of the foods they consume. Get Greens and Go seeks to engage students from a high school in a low-income neighborhood to be part of a social enterprise distribution network buying fresh fruits and vegetables at wholesale prices from local farmers and distributors, and then selling them to residents of low-income communities via food truck. Additionally, one local high school will be a hub for healthy living by selling fruits and vegetables on its grounds.
Keally Cieslik, Andrea Gaines, Nina Ruelle, Sarah Gibson, and Aliza Kreisman
The Healthy Workers program functions by purchasing food wholesale from local farmers and selling weekly baskets – or “shares” – to workers at various businesses. Shares are priced on a sliding scale, using a cross-subsidy model, which makes the food affordable for low-income workers. By using the workplace as a hub, the program ensures access to food for many low-income workers whose places of residence are geographically isolated form grocery stores. The shares are sized to provide nutritious food for a family of four. This means whole families benefit along with each worker participating in the program.
The Challenge Announcement
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: DEADLINE EXTENSION! NEW DEADLINE: SEPTEMBER 15 11:59p.m. EST.
A Better World by Design is pleased to unveil the first ever Better World Challenge! Open to students and student-led organizations from around the globe, this competition aims to inspire young innovators from multidisciplinary backgrounds to solve a tangible problem facing many modern cities: food deserts.
What is a food desert? Quite simply, it is a geographic area with limited access to fresh, nutritious, or locally-sourced food. Obstacles to the elimination of food deserts include, but are not limited to: availability, price, proximity of sources, transportation and preservation of goods, poor environment for local farming, and lack of awareness or education.
A Better World by Design wants to see your practical, efficient, and visionary solutions to as many aspects of the food desert problem as you see fit. However, we stress the importance of having replicable steps in your design, allowing the solution to be implemented in any population center around the world, from a small town to a community within a large urban area. Providence, Rhode Island – the home of A Better World by Design – is a typical small city. Currently, there are a number of initiatives addressing food availability on a small scale in and around Providence, including Farm Fresh Rhode Island, the African Alliance of Rhode Island, New Urban Farmers, South Side Community Land Trust, Urban Greens Food Co-op, and the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island. On a larger scale, Will Allen’s Growing Power based in Milwaukee, W.I. and Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign are also addressing food-related issues associated with community inequity.
We encourage you to begin the design process by researching these efforts in order to provide a background for developing your own solutions. Finally, we urge students to consider the intersection of their design with cultural, environmental, political, and economic issues.
So get designing. The world is waiting.
Submissions are due by 11:59 PM on September 15th. Please review the full prompt for details. There is also a flyer available here. For questions, comments, and further information about the BWC, please contact us.