Design Intentions for this Course

Ultimately, we would like to use design as a vehicle to forward our group's overall message. It must therefore appeal to our target audiences and provoke them to engage in our media output. We basically have two target audiences. The primary audience is the underprivileged children in the rural areas - we would like to reach them and try encourage and help them to grow their own food gardens - and our secondary target audience is the Grahamstown community in general. By targeting them, we want to create awareness of food gardens - what they are and what people can achieve through them - and try encourage support for food gardens. By approaching community centres, we can try get them to aid in existing or even start their own food gardening programmes, and by using media space such as Grocotts we can create awareness and perhaps even encouraged citizens to help out in food gardening programmes. Organisations like Umthati don't have the resources to promote themselves adequately - we have the skills and resources to help them, and create general awareness and participation in food gardens, and we can use design as a vehicle for our message.

Our first proposed output is a brochure on food gardening - sort of a 'how to' manual, but which includes nutritional information, season guides and information on food gardens and their benefits in general. As such, the brochure can be used in schools and community centres as a means of education - though most of the children cannot read themselves, especially not in english, the teachers and people at the community centres can use the information in the booklet as a teaching aid. The booklet will also be a means of social marketing - 'advertising' and promoting food gardens, and trying to raise awareness of them. They can be distributed among the Grahamstown citizenry in general for this purpose. We chose not to affiliate ourselves too close to Umtathi in terms of social marketing and the brochure, because we are not very familiar with the organisation - we don't know anything about its internal politics or ethical views, or whether it is the type of organisation we'd like to affiliate our name to in the long run. But we do want to promote food gardens - their benefits, potential, etc. What we can do is do the brochure independently, and mention Umtathi's name among other organisations like it which people can contact if they want to help out.
Because the brochure is aimed at such a diverse distribution, we thought that it should be in english for now to make it more universal. Time and money constraints prohibit us from doing it in two languages at the moment, but it is still something that the group needs to discuss further and maybe we could manage to do one in Xhosa or Afrikaans as well. Because of possible language barriers - some of those reading the brochures might not be that proficient in English - the brochure needs to be as graphic as possible. This will also make it more appealing to readers. We aim to finish designing the brochure by the week starting on the 13th of October, so that we can have it printed that week and distributed by the 22nd and 23rd of October.

Our next proposed output is a weekly insert in Grocotts mail. The clear target of these is the Grahamstown community, and as such the aim is to raise awareness and promote support of organisations such as Umtathi, and individual institutions such as schools and clinics that have their own food gardens. We hope to have a page in Grocotts every Friday for 3 weeks, which we can use to explain, discuss and promote food gardens. The reason we chose to have three editions as opposed to just one is because we wanted it to be seen as an ongoing project - having one insert on food gardens could appear random and would be easily forgotten, whereas if we have one every week people will come to recognise it and can follow our progress. We were limited to three editions because of the limited time we have left to do this project.
The design of these pages obviously have to be in keeping with the design and layout of Grocotts mail, although we can use their design templates to create our own identity for our feature and try make it stand out. It also has to be relevant and appealing to our target audience, which in itself is broad - Grocotts readership ranges from students, to the working class, to wealthier people living in and around Grahamstown. These features are aimed at them, to try create awareness among them and try convince them to support the organisations and institutions we will feature in these inserts.

For the children, we would like to design and make a mascot for our group - something which the children can relate to and associate with food gardening. Our group is going out to schools and institutions and helping them to grow their food gardens, and it would be fun for the children if we take a mascot with us a 'representative' of food gardening. Making it fun and interesting for the children would enhance their learning because they will associate the mascot with food gardening and hopefully with fun. It gives them something visual and concrete to associate with the process of gardening.


About Ukulima Grahamstown

Ukulima means 'to cultivate' in isiXhosa and we felt it was a very appropriate name for our project since we are exploring how food gardens are a local and sustainable solution to the global crisis that is food security.

We are a group of third year journalism students that were given the topic 'food gardens' as part of our Critical Media Production course. We are a multimedia group consisting of writers, designers, TV, radio and photojourn students and have been working together, as well as with various civic organisations and community projects on a number of media outputs.

Even though this project will only last six weeks, we hope to 'cultivate' some change in our community and make our media outputs sustainable in that we wish to leave behind knowledge that will benefit people and hopefully lead them in the right direction in creating a food garden that will make them self-sufficient.

We are creating a DVD of all of our visual outputs, which will come with a 'how to' brochure and packet of seeds. We plan to distribute these to various schools, clinics and community centres in the Grahamstown/iRhini area in the hopes that we can encourage people to build food gardens of their own.

We are exhibiting all of our work at Barratt Lecture Hall, Rhodes University on October 22 2008, and hope that members of the community take a look at our efforts in promoting the idea of food gardens.