City-to-Country

This was a three-day biomimicry design project, focused on applying symbiotic strategies to a growing trend of urbanites migrating to the Italian countryside. From desktop research and personal data points, we developed a persona “Anna”, who had started her own wine and olive oil business in the Italian countryside. Our project problem statement was “how might we help Anna to create new ecosystem services that regenerate and revitalize the countryside community?” To address our problem statement, we created three ecosystem-service concepts. 

The first concept, “Fruit”, is Anna herself. She has her connections to the cities, social media savvy and better understanding of “sophisticated” urban consumption trends. Anna is able to attract enthusiasts and young volunteers to work in the countryside on her farm. The “nature’s mentor” is the Caesaria tree’s colorful fruit, which encourages animals to take their seeds into other areas where there are “vegetation gaps”. 

The second concept, “Farmbnb”, is for Anna to partner with local families to renovate their farms and rent them out as a guesthouse. The local families would benefit from having extra income and new relationships. The inspiration for this came from three “nature’s mentors”:

    • Fungi that digest old parts of a tree, which hollow out but strengthen the tree. 
    • Termite mounds in the savannah groom “fungi”, which help digest the food and feed the ants. 
    • The cowbird who deposit their eggs into other species nests.

The third concept, “Network Booster”, is to help Anna draw on and establish new networks via a web portal & in-person events. These connect her with other “farmerpreneurs” for her to learn of successful case studies she could replicate. She could also exchange resources with other farmerpreneurs (e.g. tools or labour). The mentors here are:

    • Elephant dung nourishes and supports new seeds, thereby creating a new node in a network.
    • The acacia tree develops different partners at its different stages of growth.