Lasers, Food & Data (Telling a Story About Food Security) | MIT Center for Civic Media

Lasers, Food & Data (Telling a Story About Food Security)

Can a vegetable tell a story about food access in Somerville?  Yep.

"70% of Somerville Public School students receive free or reduced lunch" - laser-cut onto a cucumber

“70% of Somerville Public School students receive free or reduced lunch” – laser-cut onto a cucumber

In public settings, it can be quite hard to get folks walking by interested in a data-driven argument about your cause.  We often argue that a creative data sculpture can grab their attention… like maybe a vegetable laser cut with some data about food security!

We’ve worked with the Somerville Food Security Coalition a few times, including for our first data mural pilot project!  Recently, we had a chance to come together again around their local data about food security at the Somerville Arts Council’s 2014 Ignite Festival.  The festival celebrates fire and food, which inspired us to laser cut some data onto food and see how people reacted!

ignite-food-data-table

Here’s all the veggies we cut – eggplant, cucumber, zucchini, bread, and watermelon:

laser-cut-veggies

In addition, we prompted folks to interact with two questions – both of which they could answer with M&Ms and raisins.  Asking folks to take an M&M survey is a highly effective way to get them to interact with their data!

Here’s a behind-the-scenes video showing the laser cutter in action:

 

 

This is cross-posted to my Data Therapy Blog.