When I was searching for the distances of how far the food traveled, it was difficult to find the actual amount of miles for some foods, like bananas. A label on a banana states “Ecuador” or “Costa Rica” instead of an exact address. Instead of approximating the miles between a country and Pittsburgh, which is very broad, I searched online. The best website I found was the distance fruits and vegetables travel to get to Chicago, Illinois. Chicago is approximately 400 miles away from Pittsburgh. I considered adding 400 to the statistics I found but I felt uncomfortable changing the official statistics so I left the distances as approximates. The distances the foods travel to get to Chicago are far enough to make a point.
My ideal audience was University of Pittsburgh students that shop in the campus grocery store called Quick Zone in Towers. Students that live on campus tend to shop at Quick Zone while they still have a meal plan. This is a good target audience because the students are generally younger, it’s their first time living on their own, and they have not yet developed a real grocery shopping habit.
I thought that the idea of my project was simple yet bold. It quietly commented an important topic in Pittsburgh and actually a topic in our whole country. Unless we are reminded of some parts of our lives like where our trash goes, how our wastewater is sanitized, or how our food get to us, we forget. The process getting food to our tables, to our dining halls, is mostly unrecognized. The timing of the project is perfect because we are only a few more months away from Farmer’s Market season. I hope that my project was memorable enough to make some students pause for a short moment and think about where their food comes from. I hope that when they pass by a Farmer’s Market this season they remember the little sign I stuck on the strawberry container and make a small change in their grocery shopping routine.
My on the ground aspect of my project is bolder than its digital counterpart. One reason for this is many of my twitter followers consist of my classmates and organizations in support of community gardens or buying local. As a result, my post does not take any digital risks in regard to audience. My on-the-ground circulation did the opposite. Quick zone is a very small store and I find myself passing through the fruit and vegetable section even if I’m not purchasing produce. As a result, both students that normally buy produce and others that avoid it were forced to walk by my small signs.
The smallness of the store was a positive and a negative part of my project. The size had to potential to catch the attention of shoppers because of the small isles. However, the size also allowed the store employees to notice I was taping signs to their produce. Because of this, I felt obligated to ask for their permission. Ideally, if I were rebellious enough, I would sneak the signs into the fruits and vegetables and leave them there for students to notice.
Sadly, I’m a rule follower so I asked permission to put up the signs and assured them I would take the signs down. I only left one sign up in the orange basket but returned later to find that someone tossed my sign in the garbage.