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Project Timeline

Jan 2023 - May 2023

My Role

Human Centered Designer


August Cosinuke

Leona Das

Alex Coleman


  • Conduct background research

  • Conduct user interviews

  • Onsite visit and observation 

  • Design prototypes 

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Project Background

  • With a team of 4 students, we engaged in a 9-week design project with an external organization SEED to address real-world urban agriculture challenges.

What is SEED

  • SEED (Sustainable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development) is an urban agriculture startup focused on democratizing agriculture technology by creating low-cost ways for small growers to participate in the carbon credit marketplace.

  • SEED believes that soil is life. As a living, complex ecosystem it has produced a tradition of cultural foodways and regenerative land management, which we've lost touch with.

Design Challenge and Objective

  • Design Challenge: How might we help SEED best help their communities maximize and sustain the positive impacts of urban farming? Impacts may be socioeconomic, environmental, and equity-based, among others.

  • Objective: Help SEED by learning from the communities they serve and iteratively designing innovative and meaningful solutions with impact.

Background Research

Ecosystem and Background Research

  • Before starting our empathy work, we conducted extensive background research on food production, urban farms, and soil science.

  • Our research consisted of 14 sources and yielded insights into the environmental impact of agriculture, the role of small-scale farming in food systems, and emerging trends in urban agriculture. 

Contamination of Agricultural Soil by Urban and Peri-Urban Highways: An Overlooked Priority? — M.G. Kibblewhite

Association Between Heavy Metals and Metalloids in Topsoil and Mental Health in the Adult Population of Spain — A. Ayuso-Álvarez et al.

As stated above, our background research helped us to create a preliminary systems map that we used to explore potential need spaces, namely soil health, wellness, and equity.


Empathy Research

Empathy Research


The interviews and observations that we conducted were integral aspects of our empathy research. In total, we conducted 8 interviews and visited 6 farms and gardens.

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One of our main observations that ended up guiding our process was that many of the sites that we visited were located near industrial sites such as airplanes and roads.

User Persona

Based on all the user research we conducted, we finally generated a user persona to show key insights we identified from research. 

Define Problems

Opportunity Spaces

Our main insights from the extensive empathy work that we conducted were:

From these insights, we saw a few opportunity spaces that felt the most valuable. Particularly, in moving into the next phases of the process, we will be working at the intersection of:

Midpoint Pivot

Project Pivot

Based on the feedback that we got from client during the midpoint presentation, we realized that we needed to pivot our focus in order to deliver the most useful insights and suggestions to SEED.

We shifted away from the opportunity spaces of spiritual wellness, soil health, and equity and focused more on providing a strategy consultation (core value proposition and marketing recommendations) for SEED as it moves forward with the Radicle.

Redeveloped POV

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A startup founder, who is looking for her value proposition to pitch a soil measurement device to potential clients, needs a way to incentivize purchasing and use across potential users of widely varying socioeconomic backgrounds

Redefined "How Might We" Statements

  • How might we demonstrate the value of the Radicle to different types of users?

  • How might we incentivize initial purchasing of the Radicle for paying users?

  • How might we create persuasive marketing strategies for the Radicle?

  • How might we make soil measurement technology more relevant to potential users and empower them to improve their agriculture holding?

Prototype & Testings


01 Radicle Prototype

Determining features consumers want and testing user experience

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02 Advertisement Prototype

Testing potential marketing strategies for the Radicle

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Testing Process

We tested at various community farms and gardens around the LA area. We tested at Scripps garden, Pomona College Farm, Pacoima Community Garden, and Lopez Urban Farm. 

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Testing Results

01 Qualitative Results

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02 Radicle Prototype Testing Results

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03 Card Sorting Testing Results

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Main Takeaways

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Next Steps

In order to bridge the gap between what users really need and what value SEED can deliver to them, we would love to suggest several next steps:

  1. Testing quantitatively with more representative numbers

  2. Figure out suitable marketing strategies for different types of users

  3. Educate farmers about the importance of carbon markets

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