Farm Loop

Strategic Technology to Support Small Farmers
Research + Experience Design + No Code Development
Native App (Mobile)
Flutterflow + Firebase + Figma + Qualtrics + Various 3rd party APIs
Central New York Farmers + Food Bank of Central New York + CNY Regional Market Authority



Food is intimate to every individual and can communicate across cultures. The problem of food access is not technically a problem of lack of food, but largely an issue of income inequality and individual mobility. In Syracuse, where this project took place, every zip code has at least one sector that is considered a food desert. However, the region of Central New York that Syracuse sits is a bastion of food producers, including small farmers which are a keystone for a sustainable future.

n = 50
Field Interviews (8) + Survey (36) + User Testing (6)
For the Serious Researcher *
How to expand food access as well as support small farmers by using strategic technologies.

This project used various research methods, including literature review, content analysis, a community survey, and competitor product testing. However, the most valuable data came from field interviews with farmers to identify key opportunities. These interviews provided multiple touchstones and data types for the design process. Qualitative findings from the research interviews were coded. Five codes emerged: Packaging & Transit, Service/System, Sustainable or Regenerative, Food Access, and Experience Design. These codes reflected the strong interests of farmers across interviews. The codes were then synthesized into 4 Thematic Principles that guided the brief and ideation period.

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Ideation & Brief

During the discovery stage, multiple levels of ideation and iterative opportunities were conducted with potential end users and stakeholders. This process helped solidify the product direction and validate the use case and solution.

To design a system or service to support small scale farmers via a congruent, regenerative business model that has the potential to be iterative over time and adaptable to real world conditions.

There was a conceptual ideation period in which mind mapping was used. However, this was enhanced with a systems mapping of user journeys with food in the community. These were shared with collaborators, including farmers, community members, and the Food Bank of Central New York. These were incredibly vital periods before moving on to the next stages of research. Through this process, features were either enhanced or eliminated to create a better overall product. An example of the latter is the removal of the virtual buying group feature, which was an early forward feature in core functionality.

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Prototyping & testing

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Strategic Technology to Support Small Farmers

There were three levels of prototyping that took place: paper and journey sketching, Figma wireframing, and a functional prototype built with no code. At each stage, users and stakeholders were given the opportunity to collaborate and provide further feedback on the product as the fidelity increased. Persona spectrums were utilized as an empathy tool to inform research throughout the design and development phases.


Design Output

The primary output for this project was two-fold, the research documentation and the no code prototype build on Flutterflow, the minimum viable product ready for launch. This current iteration could be tested in real world conditions as a pilot test for the core service.

However, due to the lack of support required for the service, the prototype was ultimately not launched at this time. Nevertheless, the research and core features developed enable further development and future expansion of this product with proper support.

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This was an incredibly challenging, but rewarding project. It demonstrated to me the value of early discovery in the field and constant feedback and engagement of with key users and stakeholders. Note: This project was my graduate thesis, and therefore is fully readable via ProQuest should you like a deeper dive.

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