Designs for Foraging is a research-through-design project investigating the practices of urban foraging. As a site of inquiry, foraging is compelling because it is an example of what Gibson-Graham refer to as a post-capitalist practice, part of a diverse economy and an informal system of care. For the past several years we have been collaborating with Concrete Jungle, in Atlanta, GA. Concrete Jungle is distinctive because they donate the majority of the fruits they collect to local social service providers. One of the challenges of foraging at scale is monitoring fruit trees. Unlike an orchard, these trees are distributed across the metro region. Working with Concrete Jungle we are prototyping and studying systems and services to reduce the amount of effort needed to monitor fruit trees, with the goal of reducing the workload of volunteers and enabling more time to be directed towards the collection and distribution of the fruit to those in need.
So far, the Designs for Foraging project has explore the use of drones for foraging and the use of distributed sensors for monitoring fruit trees.
We are in the process of developing and testing a digital mapping platform, together with digital tools for data visualization and mobile data collection. These platforms and tools are scheduled to be fully functional by Summer 2017.