design thinking with
local food systems
to create healthy communities.
We believe that healthy food systems foster healthy communities. Through design, advocacy and engagement, Community Food Lab builds healthy and inclusive food systems. We are a design and consulting firm that works with all parts of the food system, finding opportunities to add new value to the health, economy and sustainability of communities. We use three principles to guide our work:
diversity leads to resilience;
systems are stronger than single solutions;
collaborative design, driven by social intentions, can create healthy physical environments and sustainable food systems.
Design begins with careful understandings of goals, context, constraints, and opportunities. We listen, we map, we draw, we imagine, and we test our ideas.
Design thinking guides us through complex inter-related elements and implications typical of food systems. We do not aim to create simple, neat, or universal solutions, but instead admit the depth and rich complexity of the world and the people we design for.
Community Food Lab provides services such as community engagement, mapping and assessments, urban and project design investigations, charettes, trainings, and feasibility studies. We bring value to clients and partners in the form of realistic design recommendations and collaborative capacity building that deliver the multiple benefits of local food systems.
Our advocacy efforts in the local food system grow from our observation that imbalance and injustice exists at many levels in the food systems that we have inherited from the 20th Century.
In our work as experts and collaborators in local food systems we are in position to bring awareness to these social problems. We are in position to promote policies and investments that shed light on the food problems our communities - all of our communities - face everyday.
The role of the advocate puts Community Food Lab into an unusual position for a design firm, but one that we think is essential to our path as socially-responsible designers. Social intentions put us out in front of the design work, where we can contribute our research and understanding to conversations about choices, intentions, and value.
Engagement with community is a process that takes many forms. Community Food Lab looks continually for ways to build new partnerships, listen to new voices, connect to new intelligence, and empower individuals.
Engagement - honest engagement - involves respect for others and value in everyone's ideas.
It makes the argument that by gathering the perspectives of those who will be affected by a decision, solutions are found that all can share ownership of and find satisfaction in.
Community Food Lab comes to engagement with an open mind, knowing that though we call ourselves experts we have much to learn, and knowing that if we can foster open conversation we are on the right track.