Gardening + Basketball = Health + Fitness

Hometown hero, Harlem Globetrotter Larry “Gator” Rivers, returned to Savannah three years ago and teamed up with an old friend, Dr. Mildred McClain, a leader in environmental justice and executive director of Harambee House. Together they are launching Harambee Farms a series of community gardens throughout Savannah to provide neighborhoods with fresh, organic produce and much needed jobs for young people.

Savannah has some of the highest obesity rates in the country, to raise awareness of the gardens and promote fitness, Gator is forming a youth basketball team called the Harambee Globecroppers. In addition to working in the gardens, the Globecroppers will put on Globetrotter-style basketball games in schools and public venues to promote heathy eating and the importance of exercise.

As part of the innovative Design Ethos conference – conceived by Scott Boylston and hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design – a “DO-ference” convened six teams in a three-day intensive worksop composed of creative professionals and college students. Each team strategized ways to empower assets existing along Waters Avenue, an underserved yet vibrant area of Savannah.

Mark Randall of Worldstudio and Noah Scalin of Another Limited Rebellion, lead a team of passionate and talented design students to address some of the challenges faced by Harambee Farms. The team identified three areas to focus on: funding, farm operations and systems as well as communications which included: awareness, recruitment and education.

Results from the three day intensive were compiled into a document for Harambee Farms to use during this early phase of their development. In addition, the team created simple graphic elements that can be used to immediately brand the organization and raise awareness. A local design studio has been recruited to donate up to 60 hours of their services to help Harambee Farms prioritize and implement the group’s recommendations. The hard work of the team was rewarded by the deeply emotional response from members of Harambee Farms.

The team consisted of students; Marco Amaya, Medini Cardenas, Carlos Estrada, Michael Kress, Tiffany Lindeborn, Annie Masincupp, Danielle Raynal, Rebeca de la Torre, Carla Paola Torres, and professionals: Mark Randall, Worldstudio, Noah Scalin, ALR and Cameron Tonkinwise, Parsons the New School for Design.

All photos: Tiffany Lindeborn

On the first day of the workshop, the team visited Saint Pius X one of the Harambee Farms locations and explored the Waters Avenue neighborhood.

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The group worked diligently over three full days. To close the Design Ethos conference each of the six teams formally presented the results of their efforts.

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Simple graphic elements included; produce stickers, garden signage and laser-cut stencils in a variety of sizes. In addition, discarded election-year yard signs can be put to good use – promoting Harambee Farms.

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Gator inspired the group not only with his caring, energy and enthusiasm but his magnificent talents with a basketball.

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