Week 2: Defining the Problem of our Problem Area
Woo! What a whirlwind! Team Circle accomplished many things in the past week.
We had a formal presentation on Wednesday so we had to really buckle ourselves in and figure out what we were doing and where we were headed.
On Monday, we had no classes but we still met as a team to discuss and synthesize the topic are we had been trying to carve out: agriculture. Yes. HUGE topic but we did our best to narrow things down. Because we had a presentation this week, we had a bit of fire under our butts. We had a messy idea of keywords and stakeholders that we had been talking about so we kicked off our meeting on MLK day by trying to organize everything into a territory map. We did all of this together. It took us quite a bit of time to making something so large, fit into a meaningful container. Although we’re not sure that making a territory map made our lives easier, we did find areas within agriculture that piqued our interest. Below is how our territory map began.
We all had other group meetings to attend and the complexity of the map became overwhelming so we decided to put a pause on things for the day.
The day before the presentation! We only had a few hours to meet today so our meeting was short, sweet, and to the point. We began the meeting by acknowledging that our topic area still felt very broad. We voted on audience size and theme to define our question. Our guiding question went through a few iterations but after some deliberation, we landed on researching
“Opportunities for community gardeners to facilitate responsible production and consumption of resources through civic-minded experiences.”
We are interested in many things but understood that we actually don’t understand very much of the natural world so we defined some goals as indirect and direct.
After being overwhelmed by the complexity of our territory map we segued into defining some super high-level questions. What were we actually trying to find out? This also proved to be really tough.
What actually really helped was outlining the presentation.
Outlining the presentation allowed us to see what components we currently had and what pieces we were missing. After we started laying out the information in keynote, filling in the blanks — or finding out what was missing — became a bit easier. We had agreed we wanted to go into Tuesday with a topic area that wasn’t too defined but defined enough that we could get feedback on it.
We all assigned ourselves sections of the presentation to work on. Bhakti volunteered to look at the territory map and make sure any gaps were being filled. After she took a pass, I (Amanda) took a stab at it using some fresh eyes.
I think the one thing we missed when defining our territory map was the last layer, we had laid out all of the components but we were feeling pretty non-committal and didn’t necessarily outline a specific area we wanted to focus on.
Ah! Presentation Day. In terms of group work and smoothness up until the presentation, I think we did great! We didn’t really hit any snags or hiccups, there was clear communication and everyone helped each other out to get the presentation done.
We thought the presentation went well overall but realized that our topic was still pretty broad so we noticed It was difficult to receive decisive and direct feedback.
After the presentation, we were starving so we decided to FINALLY do our group activity! We went to Aladdin and had some falafel and reflected on the past few days. It was tough to talk more about the presentation after sitting in a studio class for 4 hours wiped us out.
We didn’t receive the most direct feedback but we did get a ton of resources we could look into and reach out to.
We hadn’t met for a few days due to schedules but also we needed some time to let this topic marinate in our brains. We spent the bulk of today doing admin stuff and just debriefing.
The biggest takeaway from today’s meeting is that we were working with terminology and concepts that we actually…did not understand. Things like the difference between community garden vs community farm, what does organic even mean, what do we mean by civic-minded experiences…basically we spent today doing a bit of word vomiting to understand what we actually needed to define.
One thing that we did realize and want to poke at was cultural norms around farming in different countries. We all divvied up countries to look at. We want to investigate historical and technology-based practices. We read through Hilltop Urban Farm’s mission and information as well as Garfield Community Garden’s info. We also realized that these institutions are heavily tied to religion. This is also something we’re investigating.
Although we were given many names to contact and get in touch with, we agreed to do some more in-depth research to understand all of this before reaching out to anyone.
On Monday we’re hoping to share out our findings and start to define a more concrete path for our next steps.