Brief

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

Role: Co-Founder

Tools: Adobe Suite, Mural

Deliverables: Magazine

Process
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Research

Goal: To research the problem and organizations in the industry

Process: Market Research, Collaborative Analysis

Market Research

To provide a feasible solution to Chicago's food insecurity, we first had to understand the many faces of the food insecurity problem.

Institutionalized Racism

  • 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

Food Insecurity

  • 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

Food Deserts

  • 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​

Collaborative Analysis

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.

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Define

Goal: Define the core audience

Process: Target Market

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.

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Ideate

Goal: Ideate placement in ecosystem and distribution points

Process: Ecosystem, Distribution

Ecosystem

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

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Distribution

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.

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Design

Goal: Design and tailor content

Process: Style, Content

Style

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.

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Content

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

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Results

Goal: Create impact in the community

Process: Media, Scholarship, Events, Numbers

Media

Native Tongue was featured in Craig E. Mattson's book, Rethinking Communication in Social Business and the afternoon edition of WGN Chicago News.

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Scholarship

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.

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Events

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.

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Numbers

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.

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Reflection

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.

Next Steps:

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