Ruminate supports food systems with a conscience and fosters smarter connections between good people and good food.

Ripe for Discussion: SOUTHwest

paving the road from farm to plate


On August 11, 2019, diverse food leaders from the greater Santa Fe region came together to break down obstacles in distribution and how to maximize your impact by “finding your piece of the puzzle”.


the exercises


Attendees broke out into five working groups and went through a series of exercises built to identify problems, reframe them as opportunities, concept many solutions, and then refine one.


1. Facilitated Discussion and Problem Statements

During the facilitated discussion period, attendees shared related personal insights and obstacles. Together, they developed 3-5 problem statements that concisely describe a relevant pain point and its context.

2. “How Might We…” (HMW) Statements

The “How Might We...” translated problems into design opportunities. Here, attendees selected a single, properly framed How Might We to give their team a framework for innovative thinking.

3. Crazy 8’s

This fast sketching exercise challenged attendees to sketch 8 distinct ideas in 8 minutes. It pushed them beyond their first idea and to generate a wide variety of solutions to their HMW statement.

4. Business Model Canvas or Journey Map

Attendees decided to either build out a business model canvas and think through how their solution generated during Crazy 8’s could sustain itself or a journey map of key moments in the user’s experience with their solution, from how they learn about it to how they become regular users.

 example HMW statements & Solutions


HMW: How might we create a system where local food is accessible to all communities?

Solution: Bring together all elements of local food in one physical space by building a food hub that off-sets costs and logistics, and appeals to both locals and tourists wants/needs.

HMW: How might we change the buying behavior of consumers who can afford, and are interested in, “good food,”, but do not have the habit of buying “good food?”

Solution: An ingredient-and-recipe meal kit service consisting entirely of local food, prepared by engaged local restaurants during off-hours and distributed by local distributors.

HMW: How might we make local food businesses better advocates for local food?

Solution: Have a restaurant liaison who understands chef/restaurant lingo and is a trusted source by these professions. This liaison would be the bridge between farms and local food businesses who could walk them through the benefits of buying local and guide them on how best to buy locally in a sustainable way.

HMW: How might we create diversified demand for local foods/local economy (shift from demand for industrialized foods)?

Solution: A research-backed website that takes the burden of education off the producers themselves, where resources such as personalized recipe cards with nutrition facts or a customizable social media kit can be downloaded. A public education expert would run the site and be available for anyone needing further support.

HMW: How might we convince more farmers in Northern New Mexico to farm heritage grain?

Solution: A middleman in the “grain chain,” with the aging-out and retirement of a number of heritage grain growers over the past years in the region. A dedicated mill, with purchasing power & multiple outlets for grain, would be an attractive incentive for young farmers looking to enter the field, as well as established farmers looking for a supplemental/regenerative crop for their land.

next steps


Let's keep working!

Connect with us and continue the conversation as we research and move into rapid prototyping. As a group, we’ll all meet once to see how we can organize our effort and you’ll leave with mandates based on your interest.

We'll be focusing on supporting local grain economies in 2020.

Andre Kempton (Wild Leaven Bakery) has kindly shared resources with us as we focus a lane of our work with consumer messaging around bread nutrition. We will look to expand our organizational research into the best ways Ruminate can apply its expertise and resources to support professionals like Andre.

We'll be conducting a review of existing messaging work that intends to expand the consumption of local food.

One group during the Southwest session brought up the need to have evidence-based education to consumers and nudge them to purchase local food. Ruminate will collate the existing efforts, identify gaps, and conduct behaviorally informed research to understand the best path to change consumer behavior.

Further research the chef/grower disconnect to inform an existing project.

In our June Midwest session, attendees expressed a desire for an application that could make forming partnerships across the supply chain quicker and easier. Ruminate is currently in the process of researching existing solutions and looks to incorporate the chef/grower disconnect identified by our Southwest session into this research.


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