Keesa Johnson is shaping the future of food and co-designing agri-food systems with black and brown farmers across Michigan and beyond. In today's episode, I speak with Keesa about her experiences studying and practicing participatory "21st Century" design within the context of the wicked problem of equity and access in food systems. This conversation has a little bit of everything, we talk about foundational design principles, along with several core tenants of participatory design such as diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Keesa is not only an amazing storyteller, she's passionate about her work and highly skilled at what she does. I'm excited to share a bit of this wisdom with all of you today. I hope you tune into this conversation as we collectively reimagine the food system and create equitable, just, and liberating ecosystems through the lens of integrative and participatory design.
Keesa is a luminary in the the design space, having been the first black female to graduate from the Masters of Design in Integrative Design (MDes) program at the University of Michigan. While studying in the MDes program, she won the prestigious MLK Spirt Award and was named as one of the top 50 designers in the country by Graphic Design USA (article here). She's currently the DEI Manager at the University of Michigan Campus Farm, and the Racial Equity Chair at the Washtenaw Food Policy Council in Michigan.
To connect with Keesa and to learn more:
A Living Learning Lab For Equity: Keesa Johnson
Article: Redesigning Online Food Consumption to Enhance Racial and Social Inclusion Through Generative Production Networks
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