Farm Cart Anyone?

As with our Greenbriar Garden Shed, the latest Emergent Structures project aims to serve the Savannah community through a unique collaborative experience between SCAD and Savannah Tech students. Made possible by a generous grant from Gulfstream, our 2015 community collaboration project focuses on the needs that local farmers have while transporting their goods from their farm to local farmer’s markets, and specifically to the Forsyth Farmer’s Market.

We understand how hard this community works every week to bring their produce to market, and we believe that C+D waste can be the foundation for a construction project that enables these farmers to manage their produce more efficiently, saving time, hassle, and money. In order to accurately assess the true needs of this group of hard working individuals, an appropriate amount of research is necessary, and a small group of SCAD graduate students in a graduate Contextual Research Methodologies class taught by Emergent board member Sara Johnson dove into the process in ways that were truly remarkable.

The goal has been for this group to learn enough about the barriers farmers face when transporting produce to weekly farmer’s market, and learn from the innovation taking place within this community. The research and insights are being shared with students in a technical drawing class at Savannah Tech so that they have an opportunity to explore solutions that improve the present conditions on the ground, when farmers have to transport their produce from the trucks to their stands at Forsyth Framer’s Market.

There will be reclaimed materials involved! Just as soon as we have a better understanding of what would truly be helpful to this group of people!

The SCAD team of design researchers—Todd Hinkle (Design Management), Esther Kim (Industrial Design/Design Management), Amar Chadgar (Industrial Design), and Maria De La Vega (Graphic Design/Service Design) has already presented information collected through secondary research to Savannah Tech professors Steve Hartley, Dave Thomas, and Bryan Mossing.

By Todd, Esther, Amar, and Maria:

We’ve put together a collective presentation of secondary research focused on The Farmer’s Market’s previous, current, and emerging information within the areas of Business, Trends, Culture, People, and Policy. Our research was guided by various design models extrapolated from Vijay Kumar’s book, 101 Design Methods. With the gathered information, the team drew valuable insights from the following models.

  • Analogous Models, which we used to compare how models were being executed within Farming, Logistics and Retail.
  • Convergence Map, used to find overlaps and open areas for innovation within Farming Culture, Consumer Culture and Food/Transportation/Logistics Culture.
  • Offering, Activity, Culture Map which connects the product offering to the activities and the cultural factors within the Farmer’s Market and the potential user.

We’ve gone out to the Forsyth Farmer’s Market several weekends to conduct observational ethnographic research. We helped the farmers unload from their cars, trucks, and trailers, set up their tents, and then watched as customers were magnetized to the assortment of produce and attractive displays. Most importantly, we captured it all on video. This way we were able to point out some of the pain points that were inextricably weaved into the current process.

That made us question, what was it that these farmers really needed to ease the burden in their logistical process? We knew that from our gathered research data, a personal cart that transformed into a produce stand was not as clear-cut of an answer as previously assumed.

This was especially because every farmer had different vehicles for transportation, varying loads of produce and possessions, and there was a community flatbed provided by the City of Savannah that was available most Saturdays to help farmers transport everything from the parking lot to their stands.

The next steps involved initiate interviews with the farmers, policy managers, volunteers and assistants to gain a better understanding of what they need and how emergent structures could help them. Please stay tuned for more blog posts about our research and the continuing updates of the project development!

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