Improving the food distribution chain by matching LAUSD students and their families with free food pantries
Title: Food Matters
Brief: This project was created as part of a 2-week design sprint in the 2020 Adobe Creative Jam. We were tasked with designing a mobile app to empower a specific audience to help improve part of the chain of food collection and distribution.
Role: Interface designer, Researcher
Teammates: Ross Meredith & Omzee Pitchford
Click below to visit the interactive prototype.
How might we design an app to improve the food distribution system, particularly during covid?
Food pantries exist, but they need more awareness. It’s difficult to find a comprehensive list of food pantries and their requirements. For undocumented people, it can be life-altering to not have proper documentation when asked, so they’re scared to visit food pantries. As a result, families starve and fresh food is wasted.
An app which tells users where the nearest food pantries are, when they’re open, and what identifications they require. Users can upload their documentation into the app to easily show in line at pantries.
These articles informed us about the issue - we learned that food swamps (areas with high-density of fast-food options) are better predictors of community obesity than food deserts (areas without food at all). We also learned that Los Angeles was listed as the US county with the highest numbers of food insecurity for both children and all people AND the US county with the largest increase of food insecurity for children and all people.
Even more strikingly, 70% of elementary students, 50% of middle schoolers, and 42% of high schoolers in the Los Angeles Unified School District rely on cafeterias for meals. Virtual classrooms have strained these students’ access to affordable healthy food.
We created a deck of ideas and insights to help us decide on our focus area.
We talked with Enyaj, a Santa Monica resident who's savvy with local food assistance programs. She explained that many of her homeless friends don't go to food pantries because it's really difficult to get information about hours, locations, and required documentation.
She showed us a crumpled piece of paper she keeps tacked to her fridge - a comprehensive list of LA food pantries and their required documentations, released by St. Joseph's Church. An app resource with the same information would be hugely helpful to those in need.
DESIGN - USER FLOW
The need for this app is well-backed by our research. If we choose to continue this project outside of the sphere of the Creative Jam, we'll want to create a friendlier app aesthetic and market the app at existing food pantries, as well as farmers' markets, libraries, and the DMV. Future design iterations could include an informational page about government food programs like SNAP, which users may qualify for.