Hey folks, we’re back with another update on our project “Food for Thought,” and this time, we’re diving into our design details!

Let’s start with a shocking fact: Did you know that a whopping 73% of the U.S. food supply is ultra-processed? And here’s the kicker – these ultra-processed foods are a whopping 52% cheaper than less processed alternatives on average! But hold up, what exactly are ultra-processed foods? Well, they’re heavily processed products loaded with additives, lacking in whole, unprocessed ingredients, and typically high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and sodium. Yikes, right?

So why are New Yorkers so hooked on these ultra-processed goodies? First off, they’re convenient – perfect for those hustling through New York’s fast-paced life. Plus, they’re often cheaper than fresh alternatives, and let’s face it, they’re everywhere – supermarkets, convenience stores, you name it! And let’s not forget those flashy marketing campaigns making these products seem like the tastiest thing since sliced bread.

But the harsh truth is – excessive consumption of ultra-processed foods can lead to a whole host of health issues, from obesity to heart disease to increased cancer risk. Not exactly a walk in Central Park!

Fast forward to 2030 – Picture a city where ultra-processed foods rule the roost, worsening eating habits and doubling diet-related health concerns. Meanwhile, New York City faces a serious food shortage due to a booming population outpacing food production. It’s a recipe for disaster!

So, what’s our game plan? How might we improve the relationship of NYC residents with food while tackling these looming issues? Well, we’ve defined our goals:

Goal 1: Accessibility – Making fresh food easily available in the nearest grocery stores at lower cost.
Goal 2: Reconnection – Improving the relationship of humans with food.

First up, accessibility. We’re talking vertical farming! Picture – vertical farms in the heart of NYC, using cutting-edge HYLIGHT technology to sort and select high-quality “heirloom seeds” for optimum growth. These farms can produce 40 times the yield of a traditional farm, and with reduced transportation costs and increased efficiency, we’re looking at more accessible, affordable produce for all New Yorkers.

But why “heirloom” seeds? Think of it like this – remember when strawberries used to be bursting with flavor, and tomatoes had that perfect balance of sweetness and acidity? We want that back!

Next, these vertical farms in the heart of NYC will be linked to the existing FRESH initiative which was established in 2009. The Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program brings healthy and affordable food options to communities by lowering the costs of owning, leasing, developing, and renovating supermarket retail space.

We will facilitate the collaboration between established Vertical Farms and the FRESH initiative to distribute fresh produce to grocery stores in underprivileged communities.

Goal 2: Reconnection – Improving the relationship of humans with food.

Now, let’s talk about reconnecting with our food. Imagine an experience center nestled right next to our vertical farm, where visitors can immerse themselves in all things food-related. Think of hands-on activities like planting, harvesting, and even tasting fresh produce straight from the farm. But it doesn’t stop there! We’re planning to engage all five senses – vision, smell, taste, touch, and hearing – to create an unforgettable experience.

Picture this: visitors can stroll through scent stations, inhaling the aroma of fresh herbs and ripe vegetables. They can take guided tours of the vertical farm, witnessing the entire process from seeding to harvest. And for those looking to learn more about their food choices, we’ll have kiosks displaying additives in popular snacks and offering healthier alternatives.

We’re also thinking about incorporating virtual reality experiences, taking visitors on historical journeys to explore how certain harmful food behaviors became normalized over time. It’s all about educating, empowering, and reconnecting with our food in a fun and interactive way.

Sure, we’ve got some challenges ahead, like solidifying and visualizing these ideas, but we’re up for the challenge. After all, nothing worth having comes easy!

So, there you have it – our vision for a healthier, more connected NYC. Stay tuned as we bring our ideas to life and make fresh, wholesome food a reality for all! 🌱✨

All smiles after the Design Detail Presentation where we presented our current design solution concept with our peers, teaching team, and the CBI A3 community!

And, it was so great catching up with Team X-Cube!