Project:Our Teen Community-Designers Create A Micro-Farmer’s Stand For A New Chicago Mkt.

Posted on October 21st, 2010 at 11:26 am by in Our Work

Project:Our Teen Community-Designers Create A Micro-Farmer’s Stand For A New Chicago Mkt.

We couldn’t be more pleased to have wrapped up the design and fabrication of a micro- farmer’s market stand for the folks at the West Humboldt Community Development Corporation. In June, as part of a larger community effort, they helped start the neighborhood’s first farmer’s market to both provide better access to healthy foods and micro-entrepreneurship opportunities for local residents.

However, being brand new in today’s tough economic climate they are understandably wrestling with establishing the infrastructure and thereby the presence, and culture for the farmer’s market. In short, anything that provided more table space, coverage from the sun and could help local residents’ wares shine would really help them out.

Quite frankly we love the folks at WHCDC- Janece, Alicia and company are working really hard to do great things, they are incredibly nice people and my wedesignawesomethings teen community designer apprentices leapt at the opportunity to help out.

This summer, after having an adventure race to research the strengths and weaknesses of displays at local farmer’s markets as well as visiting our WHCDC clients and their site, we rapid prototyped solutions over the span of three days. Starting with highly comical (but effective) theatrical productions by each research/design team demonstrating how existing stand designs failed or succeeded and ending with a flash review by Janece and crew, we absolutely flew through the design process.

The teams came up with a number of ingenious solutions for brand new stand-alone carts but also some really thoughtful kits for helping vendors pimp out their existing tables. Ultimately, given time constraints we settled on a simple but highly functional micro-stand design.

In many respects it is still largely a prototype and we can’t wait for WHCDC to start using it (and get feedback) but here are just a few reasons we’re pretty darn excited with our results:

*The entire cart is quickly collapsible and easily fits in the back seat of a standard car, a need stated by the end-users. The fixed stand on the bottom doubles as a handle for pulling or pushing the cart in and out of the back seat of a car.

*An elegantly simple, collapsible and removable umbrella that lacks any hinges or moving parts to break.
*Removable display drawers that can double as stools.

*A largely hidden compartment for the vendor’s money box.
*Easily roll-able to and fro so that it can double as a moveable vending cart.

*A collapsible wing table that is broad enough to allow WHCDC to conduct healthy food cooking demonstrations, held up by a simple, removable pressure fit support arm.
*A foldable chalkboard for listing recipes, prices or goods with a simple, durable fabric hinge that invisibly stows in the cart for easy transport.

For a little bit more on wedesignawesomethings and images from the prototyping process, click (here) and also check out the project website that the teen apprentices created for the Chicago Architecture Foundation (here) to document the entire process.

Also, make sure you check out the wedesignawesomethings’ other project to help great organizations better deliver healthy food to Chicago communities, our apron-mitt (here).

This project would not have been possible without the support and tremendous help of the following:

Chicago Architecture Foundation (here)- Krisann Rehbein, Raul Hernandez
After School Matters (here)- Margaret Catania
West Humbolt Park Community Development Council (here)- Janece Simmons, Lily Sierra, Alicia Ivy
Landon Bone Baker Architects (here)
Norman Teague (here)
Mejay Gula
Charlie Vinz
Joe Reynolds
My next-door neighbors Sam and Tim for the use of their garage.