The Future of Food:
Visualizing the Industry + Mapping Systems

Food and the Impact on the Water supply

What will you design, make, produce?
What are you interested in?
What are you curious about?
Consider the audience....what kind of story do you want to tell?
What kind of designer do you want to be?
Designer as Witness / Documentarian / Designer as Journalist
Infographics / Visualizing Information

Course Deliverables
*Important: Students are directed to document their work along the way as it can and will be incorporated into the final outcome in some fashion.



Exercise 01: Image Archive / Library of Photos
Organized by 12 Themes

◦ water
◦ information
◦ mobility
◦ wellness
◦ nourishment
◦ shelter
◦ entertainment
◦ waste
◦ energy
◦ commerce
◦ governance
◦ security

Exercise 02: King Corn
King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. In the film, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the east coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America’s most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat—and how we farm.
◦ Activity: Observe the connections made by the film-makers. What ideas do you take from the film? What systems are in play? Make this into a visualization that explains some of the connections the film-makers make or that you get from it. B&W. 17”x11” PDF only.

Exercise 03: Potluck of heritage/culture food
To reflect upon food and its connections to everything - a system’s view. Social, cultural, economic, personal, emotional, psychological, political, etc. To get in the habit of reflecting, documenting in various formats, and sharing.
◦ reflecting and document the shopping, transport, ingredients and process.
▪ Map/documentation of the thing
▪ multi-page PDF
▪ share files via Google docs
▪ Issuu
◦ Your Taco, Deconstructed
◦ Researching (empirical or deductive) and documenting food and ingredients in terms of origins and water use.
◦ Map, diagram, chart, list - anything indexical
◦ Writing/narrative (their own or quoted)
◦ Images - typologies, landscapes, objects, actions, etc.
▪ as image, narrative, montage, etc.

Documentation for Exercise 03

Exercise 04 - TBD


Assignment 01: Writing the Future / Designer as Journalist
The year is 2064, describe what you imagine the future of food
to be like. How much water is available for food production, processing, packaging and distribution?

Engage in a 20 minute writing exercise in class.

Draw an outline of your narrative.
Sketch a diagram or map of what you envision civilization will be like.
What will it be like to grocery shop?
Will we be eating an different than we are now?
How much do things cost? etc. etc.
Develop a 1000 word essay, (creative non-fiction), describing the Future of Food.

Assignment 02: Visualizing Patterns + Connections
Create daily record of use of water. Every time you use water - drink, bathe, wash dishes, clean. You can also include everytime you experience water, i.e. walk by a public fountain, see leaking fire hydrant, it rains, etc.

Create an inventory of everything in your home that has corn it. Food, drinks. You might need to research an ingredient if you don’t know what it is made of i.e. a chemical ingredient made of corn that you are unfamiliar with.

Organize this into categories, groups, themes as you see fit. Do it visually. You could arrange the items in a photograph, or construct a photo montage, draw them by hand, overlay the name and/or ingredients over them. Have something to tell us - this is NOT just an inventory, this is a statement or story.

Where it is made, where the company is located (sometimes different from where it is made), where individual ingredients are from (not always apparent, but sometimes.) Are there any clues as to where it comes from? Map it.

Output as PDF in book layout, 8.5”x11” page size, containing visualizations of the results of the record and inventory. B&W. Length is open, but at least 3 spreads with front and back cover. You can include supporting text, either your own or referenced/quoted (this needs to be attributed.)


Assignment 03: Typology / Collaborative
Typology related to assigned theme and it's intersection with WATER
Typology related to assigned theme and it's intersection with FOOD
Create online galleries in Google Docs and Picasa.

Assigned Themes:
◦ water
◦ information
◦ mobility
◦ wellness
◦ nourishment
◦ shelter
◦ entertainment
◦ waste
◦ energy
◦ commerce
◦ governance
◦ security

A typology will feature 1 specific variable each with a minimum of 16 images per page. The number of pages is determined by the number of images you can find for the typology.

Example: Create a typology of artifacts related to MOBILITY and its intersection with WATER.
Create a typology of artifacts related to MOBILITY and its intersection with FOOD.

1. Document size = 11” X 17” Tabloid Format
2. Full Color
3. Exported as .pdf
4. Keep typographic elements to a minimum, focusing on the content of the images in the typology.

Turn in to CFPA Server for evaluation and review.

Assignment 04: Concept map of CA-NE: water + food
Outcome:realization of topic for final project
◦ messy exploratory first draft
◦ final with a topic emphasis
◦ How, where do these systems apply to food and water? These systems are highly interconnected, and can be characterized by the flow of physical resources and related services into, out of, and within the bounds of the society.
◦ The designer must completely throw himself into his own personal, independent production of knowledge.

◦ water
◦ information
◦ mobility
◦ wellness
◦ nourishment
◦ shelter
◦ entertainment (corn field, maize maze, popcorn, corn palace, whiskey)
◦ waste
◦ energy
◦ commerce
◦ governance
◦ security

Final Projects

Project 01: Mappa Nutrimens

A zine, or low tech publication that is collaboratively designed with SFSU students, published and distributed at DROUGHT conference.

Provocation, not in the sense of shocking or antagonistic, but rather as the provocation of thought (thought provoking.)
◦ Must articulate the provocation - short thesis 500 words?
◦ Back it up with text and images and data
◦ B&W
◦ 8”x11”? (trim only outside edge for creep), 2 spreads = 4 pages total
◦ + Issuu
• Online Forum (as outcome of zine - zine provokes discourse?)


Project 02: Mappa Nutrimens / Poster Display

◦ Osé along long wall at the DROUGHT symposium.
◦ Each student has a section - sequencing and narrative to be considered with neighbors?
◦ with highlighters and post-its for markup - a dialog space
◦ document during symposium

Course Total = 600 points


Collaborative Tools
Students in small groups meet weekly with check-ins using sharing resources, ideas, files.

• Zotero: for documentation of research. Can include websites, PDFs, images, books, citations, etc. Can be shared via online library
◦ Course Zotero Library
• Box: For sharing files such as art. Can review images/PDFs with comment threads. Can assign tasks (basic.)
• Google Docs
• Drivers of Change Cards
Foresight / Food