Research Statement
How can people living with food insecurity in rural areas access a healthy diet with the resources available to them?

Success Statement
Food pantries are often a supplemental food source for people living with food insecurity, and by redesigning the user experience of these food pantries we can promote healthy eating while creating meaningful community bonds.
Design Process
To address the issues of the lack of healthy food options as well as the feelings of shame associated with food pantries, I created a user experience system that could be applied to any food pantry and adjusted to their budget and staff availability. I identified the specific pain points in the food pantries I had visited and created a user flow that would reduce them and create space for a more efficient and friendly experience.

Design Solution
The solution I designed is called a New Approach to Food Pantry Design and it includes a user experience and implementation guide. The user experience guide consists of an example of a floor plan showing how the user would move through the process, with key touch points pulled out and more thoroughly explained. The process starts outside the food pantry, where the user first encounters a redesigned shopping cart that has color coded boxes on the bottom of the cart telling them how many items of each food group they can take, depending on their family size. They then will pass a ride board where volunteers and users can coordinate rides as well as signage about the documents needed to check in, so that they do not enter the pantry without all the needed documents.  Check in is split up between returning and new users, who have the option to consult with a case management volunteer as well. After check in, users will follow a linear shopping experience with color coded shelves that correspond with the food groups in their cart. The shelves will also have recipe cards that promote healthy foods that users can take. After shopping, users will check out with a volunteer who will check their cart and then they can exit. Food pantries with extra space outside and good weather can also choose to implement an outdoor experience area with games, grilling, music, and other relationship building activities.

The implementation guide then informs food pantries on how they can adopt this system into their own food pantry. It includes information about the cost of the different elements of the system, as well as how to train volunteers, and how to put together strategic recipe cards. The overall cost of the system implementation ranges from 1,450 - 2,265$, but pantries can choose specific elements that make the most sense for them if they cannot afford a total implementation. The volunteer training suggestions focus on knowledge and empathy, and the strategic recipe suggestions stress healthy, simple ingredients, short cook time, and family friendly recipes. 

The user experience system was designed to be a kit of parts that food pantries could implement at any budget or size, and help to improve the food pantry experience in their communities.

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