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An ICT Community Challenge: Wichita-Make48 Recap

Make48 launched their second season of City Events in Wichita, Kansas. Eight teams had to brainstorm for a solution to the challenge theme, “Community Gardening for Food Accessibility” and create a prototype, sales sheet, and 1-minute marketing video at the GoCreate-Make48 June event. As the Challenge Sponsor, Koch Industries and a team of community members crafted a challenge focused on improving access to food throughout Wichita.

In Wichita there are areas where residents’ access to affordable, healthy food options are limited. Teams had to create a prototype that was central to improving access to fresh food in local neighborhoods. They could focus on a category within gardening including themes such as; recycling garden waste, composting, shading for certain plants, seedling startups, storage, irrigation, solar power, transportation for planting & harvesting or raised garden beds.

A shipping container was brought in and placed in front of GoCreate at WSU for inspiration. Kollin Wasserlein, our emcee for this event, did double duties and created a fantastic mural across the shipping container. Even Shane Konicki at KWCH12 got in on the action and did a little paint spraying.

Teams were given a potential situation where a shipping container with solar panels installed would be delivered to areas around Wichita filled with everything needed to start a community garden. It would serve as storage for all the items needed to garden and would provide an indoor spot for such things as seedling starting.

Teams quickly brainstormed the first day of the competition, then took a hardware run on Saturday to Star Lumber to buy the materials needed for prototyping. Teams then utilized a roomful of tool techs at GoCreate to help build those prototypes. The winner of the challenge will move on to the finals in March of 2023 to represent the city at Nationals. We can’t reveal the winning team quite yet, but the decision was a difficult one for the judges and our guests.

GoCreate, a Koch Collaborative, is a hidden gem located in Wichita, Kansas. One of the largest makerspaces our team has ever participated in, the 18,000 square foot space is a bustling workshop filled with members from Wichita State University and the greater ICT community. This year the mentors and members of GoCreate created trophies for the first ever People’s Choice Award! We were stunned by the beauty of these trophies. Built entirely out of recycled materials found around the makerspace, the members created them using different fabrication methods and tools available in the space.

We also revealed the support from local companies who were committed to giving back to the community. Cox Communications is giving twenty (20) GoCreate memberships to residents and they will be distributed among those in underserved communities. GoCreate is also gifting the teams 3-month memberships, while Textron Aviation is gifting $750 worth of tools back to GoCreate.

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