"Eat Local" with Thomas Jefferson: Mobile Version!
Here we are again, participating in the #SWDchallenge. I’m 8/8 this year! ::pats self on back::
This month I had to take a previously created visualization and make it “mobile-friendly.” Right away I knew I wanted to challenge myself by taking my last challenge entry “Eat Local with Thomas Jefferson” and figure out a way to tell this story in a way someone could easily see on their tiny phone screen. I decided to take my interest in motion graphics and try for an animated video.
To make it mobile-friendly, I designed it in a “square” resolution allowing it to be viewed in portrait mode without any border or scrolling in. I also made it so that everything is happening on “silent-mode” aka, you do some reading. If I had a little more time, I might add some music and sound effects, but let’s face it, in these modern times, when open office spaces are “awesome” we have to make things silent-mode friendly.
I had a lot of fun learning some new tricks in After Effects, mostly thanks to my Bring Your Own Laptop subscription, which I highly recommend if you would like to get better at programs like After Effects, illustrator, etc.
At first, I struggled to think about how to visualize all 37 veggies on the screen. I thought about scrolls or recategorizing them into new groups and showing them that way, but after some time I got to thinking: while it is interesting to see all the veggies and be able to compare their availability, I found the real story here is why are there so many veggies that are supposedly less locally available? I started to do some research and found that it’s not so much that you can’t find TJ’s fruits and veggies in D.C. today. We (U.S. adults) just don’t have a taste for many veggies. First off, veggie consumption is declining and the veggies we do tend to eat are potatoes and tomatoes (think french fries and ketchup). If I was a local farmer, it would be hard me to invest in a wide variety of produce if I knew it wouldn’t sell. By the way if you are seeing more “exotic” fruits and veggies in the grocery store we are now importing over 50% of produce from other countries. On the bright side: a USDA report on Food Consumption between 1994-2008 reports optimistically there is some evidence that more people (particularly white, well educated people- probably due to accessibility and nutrition knowledge) are switching it up and going for a wider variety of veggies. While I did intent to visualize the decline and bring in more numbers, I just ran out of time, plus it’s good to keep things short and sweet for the mobile user on the go. I decided to leave this veggie video on a positive note and just mention the upward swing towards a more diverse veggie consumption.
Thanks for the challenge, SWD!