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Social Network Based on Home Gardens

The most effective way to address this problem is a project with two distinct but integrated parts: home gardens and a social network-like platform, both oriented towards children and their parents. Basically, children are involved in the growing of vegetables, and as a result, are excited to cook with them. The Social Network supplies a framework for children to find and share recipes, tips, garden information, etc. This two-part approach fosters community – both online and in person. Children will begin to interact with each other, sharing recipes, suggesting plants, etc. Children become personally involved in the growing process, and because of that, will be excited to cook and eat the produce. Realistically, this will not be implemented every night of the week, due to busy schedules, etc. But perhaps it can be used as a planning tool on the weekends for parents and children to decide meals for the upcoming week, or can be used on a “special” evening when there is time to really put energy into a creating a meal. This way, children will learn to cook at a young age, and understand not only that it can be simple, but that it is fun and tastes good. As they grow older, perhaps outgrowing the social network, it nonetheless leaves a lasting impact. An appreciation of real food and a love of cooking is something that will last a lifetime.

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Background & Observations:


A. The next generation identifies strongly with online media and social networks (facebook). That is what defines their reality (interpersonally), what they spend the majority of their time doing, and what they see as cool.


B. The only failsafe way of ensuring that a child eats vegetables is to let him/her play a part in the growing or harvesting of them. Once a child is involved, fresh vegetables are no longer something to be avoided on the plate, but rather a really interesting food that the children identify with and feel personally proud of.


C. Parents deify vegetables, and have done so for decades. Young kids hear the mantra “eat your vegetables” or threats like “no dessert until all those peas are gone.” This is completely counter-productive; children associate vegetables with health-food, and health-food with “disgusting” from a very young age. As long as we keep telling them that vegetables are the only health food, their natural response will be rebellious, and they are not going to want to eat them.
Instead, we must encourage kids to eat real food, fresh food, natural food, show them that it is delicious, and teach them to love cooking it themselves.


D. Kids don’t sit down to a meal around the table. It’s all about fast and easy dinners, which, regardless of heath claims, are not as nutritious as real food, cooked with care.




The Solution:


    The most effective way to address this problem is a project with two distinct but integrated parts: home gardens and a social network-like platform, both oriented towards children and their parents.
    

Home Garden: Children choose plants (arbitrarily, at their parents’ suggestion, based on climate and available space, or if they already have vegetables they prefer). These can be raised in an outdoor garden, in a pot on a windowsill, in a hanging garden, or some other type of urban garden. Mushroom boxes, for example, are an easy, cost efficient, way to grow a plant (fungus) that tastes good, and requires minimal care. Most home/urban gardens can be done relatively inexpensively and can be adjusted based on the available resources.




Social Network: Children create a profile on the social network site (together with their parents, or –if they are old enough – on their own). On this profile they enter information about the plants they have chosen, using the “My Garden” tab.
Based on the garden information, the profile will be linked to various “produce pages.” For example, if a child grows tomatoes, he enters tomatoes in “My Garden,” where there will be a link to the “Tomato” produce page. On this page there is information, photos, tips on how to care for tomatoes, links to other people who are growing tomatoes, and, most importantly, links to “Recipe Pages.”
Recipe Pages can be navigated to via either produce pages or direct searching. Each recipe page features a visual list of ingredients, photos of the finished product, links to other recipes that would make a full meal, links to other people who have made the recipe, and comments/suggestions from those people. Recipes can be submitted by users, but will be vetted to ensure that they are easy to prepare, tasty to kids, accessible (not too gourmet or high-brow), and nutritious.
Once someone has made a certain recipe, it will show up in the “My Kitchen” section of his profile. Through this, he will be able to navigate back to the recipe, to post comments, photos, or tips for others who want to make it as well. Recipes can also be archived in the “Favorite Foods” for easy access in the future.




Summary: This two-part approach fosters community – both online and in person. Children will begin to interact with each other, sharing recipes, suggesting plants, etc. Children become personally involved in the growing process, and because of that, will be excited to cook and eat the produce. Realistically, this will not be implemented every night of the week, due to busy schedules, etc. But perhaps it can be used as a planning tool on the weekends for parents and children to decide meals for the upcoming week, or can be used on a “special” evening when there is time to really put energy into a creating a meal. This way, children will learn to cook at a young age, and understand not only that it can be simple, but that it is fun and tastes good. As they grow older, perhaps outgrowing the social network, it nonetheless leaves a lasting impact. An appreciation of real food and a love of cooking is something that will last a lifetime.

Age of kids. The solutions to changing kids’ eating behaviors will vary depending on their age. What works for a toddler won’t necessarily fly for a teenager, although we suspect some concepts might be appropriate for all ages—even adults! Which age bracket does your concept address (tick all relevant boxes)?

  • Elementary (Kids) 5-10
  • Middle school (Tweens) 11-13
  • High school (Teens) 14 -18

Hurdles to success. Helping kids make smarter food choices comes with a variety of hurdles that have to be addressed in order for a design solution to be successful, which of these do you think that your Concept overcomes (tick all relevant boxes)?

  • Expense and Convenience
  • Lack of Knowledge

Evaluation results

6 evaluations so far

1. Food Knowledge - To what extent is this concept teaching people about food knowledge?

It's teaching people a great deal about food knowledge - 33.3%

It's teaching people a moderate deal about food knowledge - 50%

It's teaching people a little about food knowledge - 16.7%

It's not focused on food knowledge - 0%

2. Cooking - Is this concept focused on getting people to cook?

It's all about getting people to cook - 50%

It's moderately about getting people to cook - 33.3%

It's getting people to cook a little - 16.7%

It's not focused on cooking at all - 0%

3. Originality - How original is this idea?

This idea is extremely original - 0%

This idea is somewhat original - 50%

This idea has some originality about it - 33.3%

I have seen this idea before - 16.7%

4. Scalability - How scalable is this idea across communities and geographies?

This idea can be scaled across many communities and places - 33.3%

This idea can be scaled but needs some work - 33.3%

This idea will take a fair bit of work to scale - 33.3%

This idea cannot scale at all - 0%

5 comments

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DeletedUser

I've got your back mate. Unreal idea.

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DeletedUser

http://openideo.com/open/how-might-we-give-children-the-knowledge-to-eat-better/concepting/digger-tots/

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DeletedUser

yellowicepick -
Thank you for your comment
Please applaud if you like the idea

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DeletedUser

This would actually be great for drawing certain teens and pre-teens into the joys of farming and cooking fresh food.