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Three Cheers for the Connected Conscious Consumer

A world where consumers know enough about the in's and out's of food systems not just to care, but to actually change their daily behaviors.

Photo of Arissa Agnant
3 6

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Melanin in the Kitchen

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

New York City

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

United States of America

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

New York City

What country is your selected Place located in?

United States of America

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

I'm a boomerang. I was born in raised in Baldwin, Long Island until age 12, my parents and I moved down to Orlando Florida for ten years, then I solely returned to the city for the past 3. I have semi-equal parts of city and rural experience, but New York runs through my veins. It’s the epicenter of music, culture, food, the arts, systems, fashion – but most importantly, influence. New York shows the world how to live. According to a CBRE May 2019 retail report, New Yorker’s spend 130% more dining out than US Average. With a population of 8.5 million, there is an enormous amount of consumer power. But is it being used for good? Do enough New Yorker’s know their love for avocados indirectly produces militant level wars in Mexico, Peru, and Chile? Do they know these wars are driving small farmers to be kidnapped, held for ransom, forced to sell their orchards, or s simply completely out of business? When people are not close to their food, when they’re not making their food, when they don’t know the history or system behind their food – they can’t be aware of these things. This means they can’t change their behavior. I want to empower the consumer with the highest spending power to be more connected and conscious of the food systems they interact with. I want them to know every sip of their bottled Dasani is a sip directly out of the drying aquifers around the world. I want to create conscious, connected consumers. Then, I want New Yorkers to do as they do - and influence the world.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

New York City is filled with purpose driven people. People who think bigger, envision their desired new future, and take action! They are corporate businesspeople, artists, teachers, and more. This place is the most beautiful myriad of people ne could lay their eyes on. It is filled with people longing for a deeper existence. One with more impact, more connection, and more purpose. New Yorker’s are always coming and going, to-ing and fro-ing. In the intense heat, in the frigid cold, in the rainy gloom, or in the brisk spring. On the other hand, because of this hectic life forever in transit, there is a downside. Many New Yorker’s struggle to feel healthy, have enough money, find their purpose, feel content with their jobs, and so much more. They feel they have a higher purpose, but can’t quite put their fingers on it. They can see their infrastructure and systems deteriorating around them, but they don’t think their individual choices have any weight. They feel like they are in the Matrix. They want to escape. They are questioning their preexisting beliefs and vying to chance the way they view the world. They want to embark on a newfound quest for chance from the world’s status quo. From their status quo. They want to let new energy, thoughts, healing, and freedom permeate through their lives spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally. They want to be everything they wish they could be, even if they don’t know who that is yet. Gone with the old. In with the new.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

We are overweight. We have no idea where our food comes from or how it affects different locations. We are not aware of the barriers low income communities face pertaining to their health and wellness. We are killing the planet. Yet we are still concerned with distractions, personal endeavors, and trivial pursuits. We need to care, or we will be left to fend for ourselves. But wait, most New Yorker's don't know how to cook or farm. A dire future awaits.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

This vision explores the intersection of plant-based eating, spirituality, sustainability, and personal growth. This manifests through holistic wellness digital products & in-person experiences designed to increase conscious eating & living. These include how-to guides, ebooks, webinars, courses, cooking classes, workshops, and more. Participants feel physically, mentally, spiritually, and/or, emotionally stronger after experiencing these offerings. They know what's in their food, how it gets to them, and how it affects producers, the environment, and the geo-political climate.

Melanin in the Kitchen is for people who struggle with realizing their negative habits pertaining to their mind, body and soul connection. When we don’t eat right, we don’t feel right. We don’t think right. We don’t act right.

It’s the convenient way to learn how to cook. It leverages heavy tech solutions to combat middle and upper class consumers, but tech is also heavily proposed for low-income populations as well. Modern problems require modern solutions. 

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

These are the main pillars of change for the new connected, conscious consumer:

Body: Eating poor foods, seldom physically active, eating heavy animal-filled products, 

Mind: Stuck in poor habit cycle, spending lots of money on takeout, can’t eat healthy consistently, succumb to cravings, emotional eating, binge eating, unhappy, unfulfilled, 

Soul: Low self-awareness (desires, goals, past traumas, passions, etc),  poor mental health (self-talk, anxiety, low self-esteem), personal growth, goal setting, purpose/career

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

This vision comes to life in two pillars of Conscious Eating and Conscious Living:

Conscious Eating - 

- Transitioning consumers into a plant-based diet to consciously consume healthful foods for body, mind, and planet. First helping understand why they eat what they eat, to inform them on ways to resist bad cravings. 

Knife skills

Cooking equipment

How to stock pantry/fridge

Meal prepping

Learning new healthy recipes

How to cook different vegetables

Curbing bad cravings

Resisting emotional eating

Avoiding processed foods

How to transition into being plant based

Navigating the grocery store

Reading food labels

Environmental impacts of foods

Sustainable Eating

Zero Waste

Up-cycling for Impoverished Communities


Conscious Living - 

- Teaching consumers about mindfulness, self-analysis, and self-awareness. Low self-awareness and mindfulness is the root cause of why people are unfulfilled in life running on auto-pilot in their comfort zones.

 Rewiring your subconscious mind

 Mental and emotional health

 Personal growth



 Creating new habits

 Morning/evening routine

 How to self care

 Book recommendations

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • My graduate school professor

Attachments (1)

Food Systems Vision.pptx

I'm currently obtaining my Master of Science in Impact-Focused Business & Investing at Glasgow Caledonian's School for the Common Good in SoHo, where my passion points are using systems thinking approaches to: - reduce our eco-footprints through sustainable eating - change our diets to increase our nation's physical, mental, and emotional health - mitigate the impacts of AI & automation in the workforce - understand and overcome the cognitive biases within human behavior that stifle growth


Join the conversation:

Photo of Emmanuel Dzisi

A very good submission. Good luck with the work you are doing. I think we can learn a lot from each other.

Photo of Vicent ST

Hi there!! How much land in agricultural regions should be left as natural habitats to provide ecosystem services and mitigate climate change threats?


Great work Arissa! We think that involving costumers is the key factor to make a huge change in the system! We really like your approach. Let´s keep in touch and maybe doing things togheter in the future!