Native Tongue Magazine is a non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating food insecurity in Chicago's underserved neighborhoods. Each issue of the magazine features: tailored recipes crafted for budget, convenience, and ingredient availability, community organizations and heroes creating positive change through food, and kitchen tutorials, pantry guides, and culinary how-to's.
Client: Native Tongue Magazine
Timeline: 2 Years
Tools: Adobe Suite, Mural
Goal: To research the problem and organizations in the industry
Process: Market Research, Collaborative Analysis
To provide a feasible solution to Chicago's food insecurity, we first had to understand the many faces of the food insecurity problem.
Diabetes, heart disease and obesity are rampant within Chicago’s majority Black and Latinx South and West Side communities
Grocery stores refuse to set up shop in minority dominated neighborhoods
Consequences of decades-long poor infrastructure
One in seven people in Cook County will experience food insecurity
Food and diet education is typically not included in school curriculum
Even if options exist, people may not be able to afford or know how to use ingredients
Areas that lack reasonable access to fresh and affordable foods
Restricted access to healthy foods may magnify health disparities that lead to higher rates of chronic illness
Options limited to fast food, corner stores, or cheap unhealthy processed foods
We never referred to like-minded companies as competitors. We're all partners trying to fight a multi-faceted problem. I kept track of nuanced, yet like-minded organizations we would later partner with in an effort to tackle food insecurity.
Goal: Define the core audience
Process: Target Market
We dug deeper into demographics and confirmed that the Chicago's West and South Side Black communities are the most at-risk population of food deserts and food insecurity. We created an infographic to highlight the health disparities that Black people face within Chicago.
Goal: Ideate placement in ecosystem and distribution points
Process: Ecosystem, Distribution
We created an ecosystem to understand how Native Tongue fit within Chicago's food and non-profit landscape. Through this ecosystem, we could recognize how we help multiple parties by creating unique value for each involved party.
Recipient - Influence healthy decision making
Food Distributor - Provide programming for food
Consumer - Offer culture and philanthropy
Community - Support and extend existing initiatives
To maximize impact, we distributed free copies of Native Tongue at Kipp North Lawndale, and community centers throughout the West and South side.
In our market research, we discovered that children help guide grocery decisions for the family. Children could learn about food, and influence their parents to buy specific healthy items.
Additionally, free digital copies were made available through our website.
Goal: Design and tailor content
Process: Style, Content
We used hip-hop as our internal engine to guide design decisions. As avid hip-hop heads, our team used this as a compass for content, business, events, etc.
We prioritized food education with gourmet recipes tailored for affordable and available ingredients. We highlighted cooking techniques and food stories inclusive of Chicago's diversity.
Each issue features:
Tailored recipes crafted for budget, convenience, and ingredient availability
Kitchen tutorials, pantry guides, and culinary how-to's
Community organizations and hometown heroes creating positive change through food
Goal: Create impact in the community
Process: Media, Scholarship, Events, Numbers
Native Tongue was featured in Craig E. Mattson's book, Rethinking Communication in Social Business and the afternoon edition of WGN Chicago News.
Native Tongue was a winner of the 2112 Inc. Diversify Scholarship. The scholarship helps accelerate women and minority-lead businesses within art and tech. This granted us 6 months of office space, professional consulting and help from industry veterans.
We held multiple events ranging from concerts, happy hours, farmers market stands, and most importantly, our food expo to educate families with helpful lessons that start with the grocery store and end at the dinner table.
Through free magazine distribution and events, we were able to reach a considerable amount of people and partner up with multiple organizations to provide a food education resource in Chicago.
Design Thinking 101. This isn't necessarily a story about design, but more like how I discovered it. Through the 2112 scholarship, I was introduced to design thinking. As an upstart entrepreneur, design thinking provided a framework to problem solving that I desperately needed at the time. It taught me to start with the problem, and create a strong foundation before moving forward. Two years later, I found my true calling here.
Data is Everything. We went into this business with great intentions. To help Chicagoans eat better. To improve quality of life. To provide a resource of healthy eating. But we neither had the budget nor the capability to perform primary research or usability testing of our target audience. If I could go back, I would conduct as much qualitative research as I could before anything else.
More Editions- Create new editions of Native Tongue Magazine and distribute throughout the city
Monetize- Prioritize ad space or fundraising to sustain business
Fully Digital- Cut printing overhead and refine the distribution method online