Date of Award

5-2011

Embargo Period

3-23-2012

Degree Name

Master of Design (MDes)

Department

Design

Advisor(s)

Daniel Boyarski

Abstract

I began this thesis with an interest in sustainability and how to design communication to educate people on the concept. I didn’t know much about the topic but my interest was sparked initially by both the documentary “Food Inc.” and by Michael Pollen’s book, “Omnivore’s Dilemma”. I was also influenced by the literature review on sustainability that brought home the reality of how unsustainably we live in the modern world.

It seemed natural to look into food and the agricultural system in order to explore sustainability further. This arose partially from a personal interest in food and partially because sustainability can be understood in terms of the biological systems intrinsic to sustainable agriculture. I sought out a real-world problem that would help scope down such a broad topic, and this led me to organic food.

I ended up working with the Vermont chapter of the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA). Their job was to market and promote Organic to their community as well as act as the third party organization certifying Vermont Farms based on USDA regulations.

“How can we get people to choose Organic?” was the marketing problem that I wanted to design for. The heart of this is a communication issue, and I argue in this thesis that organic should be the vehicle through which they promote their environmental goals and values.

For NOFA-VT, I believe that this is where their interest lies. The organization’s values that drive belief in organic should drive the messaging. Organic ends up not necessarily being the goal, but a means to an end, and that end is helping to instill environmental care among their consumers and hopefully the desire to live more sustainably based on those values

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