Better student nutrition by design
By Kathleen Maclay
17 Aug 2017
Photo courtesy of Semar Prom
The products of this summer’s embARC Design Build project aimed to enhance the accessibility and visibility of a host of services providing fresh, affordable and nutritious food to students in need at UC Berkeley.
The wheels have been installed on two cargo trailers, a small pop-up kitchen and a mobile farm stand constructed by about 50 high school juniors and seniors during a four-week summer program at the College of Environmental Design. The students learned about metalworking, woodworking, digital fabrication and design skills. One cart with wooden baskets has been dubbed the Tour de Fruit, another the Kitchlet, and the small and large cargo trailers have been adorned with a Basic Needs Security logo.
Every week, the devices, pulled by electric bikes, will collect about 50 pounds of fresh food grown at UC Berkeley’s Gill Tract in Albany as well as from garden sites on the north side of campus and at the Clark Kerr campus on the south side.
Supplies can be transported via two of the carts to the campus Food Pantry in the basement of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, or to special events at other locations. The farm stand trailer will be used by the Food Pantry as a pop-up pantry and by the campus gardens as a farm stand.
The Kitchlet cart features a couple of propane-powered burners and countertops for demonstrations of healthy meal preparation by nutritionists from University Health Services.
A 2016 UC Student Experience Survey found that 39 percent of UC Berkeley students experience food insecurity, which can range from having insufficient food supplies, undergoing disrupted eating patterns or lacking balanced meals.
The embARC Summer Design Academy brings high school students from around the world to UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design for immersive study in architecture, design, fabrication and sustainable city planning as they respond to local social/environmental justice issues.
In previous summer sessions, embARC students have applied their design training to constructing nesting boxes to promote East Bay bird conservation and building storage devices for the Verde Partnership Garden in North Richmond to promote healthy eating.