An App with an Appetite
Community Supported Agriculture gets a lift into the 21st century. Placing sustainability on the virtual table with the FreshConnect mobile app.
Three UX Designers and Researchers
Creating Product Concept and Selection, Research, Design Audit, Usability Testing, Ideation, Information Architecture, User Flows, Business Model, Usability Study, Identity Design, Final Deliverable
Figma, Figjam, Miro, Google Docs, Storyboardthat, Zoom
Year 2020 ushered in with it much more than a change in digits and a new decade. There were unexpected changes that we are all still adjusting to as a result of the pandemic. One area that showed significant change and interest is concerns over food, food safety, supply chain shortages and security.
There has been a wave of interest by consumers as seen in Google trend data over the past year. Articles have reflected a similar trend in reference to the pandemic. However, there has been a growing trend of consumers seeking more a more customized experience in food purchasing options that focus on quality and health concerns.
WHAT IS A CSA?
CSA is an acronym for Community Supported Agriculture. The roots of the CSA model are buried in the establishment of the work of Booker T. Whatley, an African-American horticulturist, and professor at Tuskegee University (Tuskegee, AL). In the 1960s and 1970s, he developed 10 commandments that he considered essential for successful farming. One of the commandments was the concept of a “Clientele Membership Club,” in which club members paid an upfront fee to pick their own produce all season long.
This is a business model concept continued to evolve to support local farmers with a the formalization of Community Supported Agriculture in the 1980s. In 1986, this concept was seeded in the United States with the establishment of Indian Line CSA located in South Egremont, MA and Temple-Wilton Community Farm located in Wilton, NH. This business model provides farmers funds before the planting season to purchase equipment and seed to produce higher yields and healthier food.
To better understand the needs of the consumer and how to improve connections between the farmer/producer and the community to increase sales and retention.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is rooted in community. There is a ripe area of need for consumers who benefit from a digital product that will offer opportunities to connect and also support local farmers for regular convenient selection and delivery of fresh produce.
Producers are struggling to gain business traction. They need a marketplace for promotion and community that connects directly to consumers to deliver fresh, locally sourced food all year round.
The opportunity is to create digital product that features a community network and marketplace where producers and consumers can meet. Traditionally, this business-to-consumer model met at the local Farmer's Market which provided an organic method of marketing and cross-marketing. Times have changed and technology impacts every sector. The CSA business model can benefit from the digital shift. Producers will profit and consumers will have more knowledge and access to fresh produce and goods.
The goal is to provide producers with a more innovative digital platform to gain visibility in a comeptitive marketplace.
Why don't producers have the technology, marketing and support they need to get their businesses online?
Why are traditional in-person promotions so important at farmer’s markets?
Why do producers need to define their niche to compete in the expanding marketplace?
Why are shipping speeds and prices a key factor in a digital market?
Why have corporations started to produce products in the same space?
Preliminary research was conducted in markets around the world. Three products emerged from this research that hinted on some of the pain points that were sought out in the initial concept for a digital CSA product. Many of the inital websites for farmer's markets and local foods are based on a directory of products and services listing. There is a glowing opportunity to develop a digital product that is capable of replicating some of the features of an in-person market experience. The digital CSA model might actually encourage and increase real in-person events and engagement.
A look into hand-crafted, holistic and health indutries and business models was helpful in gaining a better understanding of consumer needs and desires.
Key insights into consumer needs:
2. Customer Care
Key insights into social networking needs:
1. Sharing ideas for using produce and products
2. Groups and communities with specific interests
3. Neighborhood and local connections
Fresh — An open market and an individual market for each farm partnership.
Connect — An avenue for consumers to build trust with their producers by communicating directly with farms and community.
Integrity and Trust
Community and Accessibility
Equity and Health
Brand loyalty and sales for farmers