DIPLOMA PROJECT PROPOSAL | V.3
PUSHPI BAGCHI | VISUAL COMMUNICATION DESIGN
To design products that engage children to help them learn about food sustainability, and appreciate
the value of food beyond satisfying hunger and taste through interactive and inclusive methods.
WHY SHOULD WE LEARN ABOUT FOOD?
Urban India is fast becoming spoilt for choice when it comes to the variety of food available to us in
our neighbourhood supermarkets, be it fresh, processed, or packaged. With couples finding
themselves short on cooking time, convenience foods are making their way into the homes of
middle class Indians. Most working couples have full time cooks to take care of their daily meals and
rarely enter their kitchens. Children while accompanying their parents on grocery shopping trips, or
at home, begin to assimilate food choices (whether healthy, sustainable or not) from a very young
age without appreciating or understanding their implications.*
Food consumption trends are moving away from localised systems to global flows, increasing our
food miles and in turn the carbon footprint of our food.
There is also a steady loss of traditional knowledge (E.g. home remedies, understanding of nutrition),
values, and customs (E.g. eating meals in specific courses) that were attached to food and meal
times. This maybe because they are no longer passed on from parent to child, or possibly because
they are too time consuming and outmoded to be practiced in this day and age.
The impact and value of food is being overlooked by most of us as we become less involved with the
food we eat. Children of upper middle class households in particular have very little involvement
with their food. How can we encourage ourselves to make small changes in our consumption
patterns so that we consume food to improve well being and quality of life, while simultaneously
reducing our carbon footprints?
*This has been proved by a test done in 2008 by a group of nutritionists, doctors and paediatricians
in the USA to examine food and beverage choices of preschool aged children.
Most of us don’t ever consider the larger impact of our food choices, but most urban food trends are
such that the transport, processing, packaging and distribution of the food that we buy consumes
ten times more energy than what enters our bodies as nutrition. How can we sensitize ourselves to
become more aware of everyday decisions and their larger impacts?
We need to establish a new value system that encourages us to get involved with our food before it
reaches our plates, to examine the impact of our food beyond our own bodies, and look at food
holistically and not just as a product that satisfies our hunger and taste palate.
1 Pushpi Bagchi | Diploma Project Proposal
To really understand something, one needs to be actively involved with it. To truly appreciate food,
we need to know where it comes from, how it’s cooked, what it tastes like, and what it does to our
bodies when we eat it. If we take ownership of what we eat, we are more likely to become
responsible about it, and realize the importance of making healthier and more sustainable food
Children between the ages of 4 to 8 years from upper middle class homes.
Parents with children of this age group; and possibly educational institutions catering to students of
this age and coming from the mentioned social and economic background.
WHY START WITH YOUNG (4+ years) CHILDREN
• Children of this age are inquisitive, receptive and open to learning about anything.
• Children should be encouraged to explore food, grow it, cook it and experience an array of
food flavours and texture. The younger they start the easier it is for them to appreciate and
enjoy the hard work that goes into getting food onto our plates.
• These are the formative years of life and what a child learns and discovers at this age can
make a significant impact and stay with him/her for life.
“Even if children have a better understanding at an older age- they also know that they can
choose to ignore things that they are being told. They can choose to not care about things.”
- Anisha Kashwani
Mother of 5 year old Aditya
(The above points have been made after doing research and talking to parents with children in
preschool or younger.)
• Conduct a series of interviews with Parents with children of ages 4+, and School teachers.
• Attend classes with children of ages 4+ to interact with them to better understand their
knowledge of food and its importance, and recognize what helps them learn better.
• Identify key areas and spaces where children and parents, grandparents, etc can interact
with each other and involve themselves with food.
• Design products that educate and engage children to learn about the importance and value
of food in our everyday lives, and how our food choices and actions can help the planet. To
design these products using local, sustainable materials.
• Conduct user tests and hold interactive sessions with my target audience to check the
usability and effectiveness of my final product.
2 Pushpi Bagchi | Diploma Project Proposal
APPROACH / PROCESS
• Existing products, materials and methodologies that introduces children to food and
• Diet, eating habits and food trends in urban upper middle class households.
• Methods that parents use to teach their children about food.
• Understanding learning abilities of children between the ages of 4-8 years.
Facilitation & User Participation:
• Series of interviews with parents and primary school teachers.
• Interaction and discussions with children in their homes and school to explore learning
• Understanding the needs of the target group (children as well as parents).
• Interactive sessions to create awareness and spread the word on food sustainability and to
introduce the final products.
• Product user testing with parents, school teachers and children.
Product Conceptualization & Prototyping
• Spaces: Mallya Aditi International School, Nagarjuna Vidyaniketan School, Mystique
• Books on food, featuring food, and childhood e.g. Toast by Nigel Slater
• Toys & other Children’s products
• People: Children, Parents, School teachers, Nutritionists, Illustrators, Designers specialising
in children’s products.
• Explore the role of design process in creating awareness about sustainability and well being
by effecting change in everyday life.
• Use different materials and mediums to create educational products for children.
• Explore my capability as a visual communication designer to facilitate learning.
“Teach kids how to cook! Teach them where food comes from and what it tastes like. Encourage
them to explore the food world. And while we are at it, how about doing some things to change the
food environment to make it easier for parents to make healthier choices for their kids?”
- Marion Nestle
NYU Professor of Nutrition & author of Food Politics and What to Eat
3 Pushpi Bagchi | Diploma Project Proposal