For our third challenge of the 2022-2023 program year, we partnered with E. Warren Development Corp (EWDC), a nonprofit with a mission to support and enhance the E. Warren commercial corridor and adjacent neighborhoods through collaboration, community engagement, and equitable development. Five teams of Fellows worked alongside the EWDC staff and neighborhood stakeholders to create deliverables for this project – learn more from the perspective of each team! 

Far from a transactional place, the E. Warren Farmer’s Market is a multi-purpose space for community members and vendors alike to come together, build connections and spur meaningful and lasting growth in the E. Warren corridor and surrounding neighborhoods. While the E. Warren Development Corp (EWDC) may be a small organization, our stakeholders made it clear that real impacts in the E. Warren communities have been, and are continuing to be made every day, reactivating a once lively space filled with fond memories.

For this project, our team was tasked with two main objectives: increasing awareness of and traffic at the farmer’s market, and developing a set of recommendations for a future online platform, within the context of the following design question:

“How might we further activate the EWDC Farmer’s Market to be a neighborhood hub / third space?” 

In responding to this question, we dove into the design thinking process by first interviewing an incredible group of dedicated stakeholders consisting of both EWDC staff, Farmers Market Vendors, and Market Goers. And, we were also excited to able to visit the Farmer’s Market space itself, which allowed us to have a more meaningful understanding of the market. The stakeholders provided important and diverse insights that directly influenced the creation of our final deliverables that we would share with EWDC. Scott Field, EWDC board member and Farmers Market vendor said of the market: “We’re not just there to be the space for them to sell..We’re there to help them get them where they’re going”

With the idea of activating a community hub at the forefront, we worked collaboratively with our Project Liaison Brie Holmes to create deliverables that brought together all of the insights we heard throughout our project. These included a concept and materials for a market mascot, Mr. Pepper, to provide nutrition education materials and traffic evaluation surveys; an outline for a market vendor spotlight series to increase traffic and build an online awareness for vendors; and other materials to help EWDC communicate their vision for the Farmer’s Market space with community members within the surrounding neighborhoods. 

We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn directly from the individuals doing the work on the ground right in the community in E. Warren, and we hope that by capturing and translating our learnings into the specific deliverables we created during this project, our work will support the incredible efforts and vision of EWDC.

Blog by Fellow Team: Chauncey Thompson, Hannah Rickard, Megan Pham, Eboni Thomas, Livia Stine