Jenna Witzleben

MFA Thesis Blog

This blog contains experiments, project and reading reflections, unanswered questions, and more relating to my year-long thesis as part of my Master's design program. From Sept. 2016 to May 2017, I explored rewilding human beings and the environments we inhabit at multiple scales including investigation around individual fears of nature, regional food production systems, and global overpopulation. The final works of this thesis can be found in my portfolio.

Service Design Sprint

In the end of October, we were tasked to create two services within our thesis. Through brainstorming and reflecting on my interviews, there were several ideas that emerged. These include:

- Helping people find their place in nature

- Helping people cohabitate with other animals

- Nature training

- Community greening co-creation service

- Sprawl transformation

- Daily visits to nature

- New cultural celebrations to replace pastoral nostalgia

- Early childhood stewardship

- Helping people love soil

- Tree guards

- Nature challenges

- Feet adjustment - baby steps towards barefooting

I selected for my explorations helping people love soil through a soil spa experience, and the community greening co-creation service.

Grounding is a spa experience that provides socially acceptable ways of developing an intimate relationship with soil.

The entire spa is outdoors, tucked between two city buildings, with walls and trees for privacy, and a deployable greenhouse cover for winter time.


Patrons purchase services, like a traditional spa, but all services are soil centric.

Our spa rituals help to create reciprocal relationships between the patron and soil, fostering the exchange of microbial organisms between the two. Human patrons gain emotional connection and microbial health benefits. The soil is fed with the cells and follicles of humans.

Soil Spa v2.0 invite.jpg

bud is a service that works with community members to ideate and implement local food production systems.

Interested community member(s) sign up on our website. They are assigned a representative who works with them to create a community workshop event. The representative will help guide the assembled community members through the key considerations of: types of food systems, potential locations, and modes of distribution and sharing.

We are a non-profit organization and we operate on a variety of grants such as the Ford Foundation Sustainable Development Grant. Our vision is to expand to various cities throughout the United States and remain a long term resource for communities who want to continually improve their local food system.

Jenna Witzleben