Aspiring to Inspire: a Sustainable Approach to Food Consumption September 13, 2015
By Anne Knauff, advisory board member, Design for Good; advisory council member, Midtown Farmers Market
Heather Olson, a Design for Good participant, and I had the opportunity to spend an early September morning volunteering at The Common Table exhibit during its run at the Minnesota State Fair this year. The Common Table is a network of people from the Minnesota food and design communities who “aspire to inspire” a more sustainable approach to food consumption. Representatives of AIGA Minnesota’s Design for Good initiative partnered on the creation of this exhibit from start to finish.
Titled “Minnesota Eats,” the display is comprised of six interactive stations: Nurture Soil, Grow Food, Eat Local, Buy Local, Promote Justice, and Reduce Waste. Each station inspires visitors to think differently about the food they consume. Ideas range from how to obtain food (for example, a simple container garden on the patio, an aquaponic system, or purchasing from a CSA) to tips on reducing waste and efficiently storing edibles.
We met seasoned gardeners — urban, suburban, and rural alike — happy to share their experiences of growing and preserving food over the decades. We met a couple from Northeast Minneapolis who hosted a butterfly stopover habitat in their yard, as well as a family that grows produce in straw bales.
We also chatted with novices who were delighted that they could start out simply, with a raised bed or a vertical garden (stacking pots) on their balcony.
It was a privilege to be involved in an activity that resulted from collaboration between such a creative group of food activists and designers. The food subject matter experts provided the “how-to’s” and the designers helped make the ideas understandable, accessible, and inspiring. What a positive way to inform fairgoers about how Minnesota Eats!
Exhibit photos provided by The Common Table
Leadership team photo by Jay Larson