The International Housewares Association created its student design competition 30 years ago to "invigorate the housewares industry with the fresh ideas of top student designers and to encourage young talent to consider careers in the housewares business." At the Inspired Home Show competition this year, App State Junior and Industrial Design Student, Austin Liebgott, was awarded 2nd place for his creation of the Alma Produce Keeper and Ripener. His recognition also was complemented by a $2,300 award for its innovation, attractive packaging, and solution to food waste along with the needs of produce.
Austin completed the Alma Produce Keeper and Ripener in Product Design Studio 1 at Appalachian State University under Donald Corey. The initial assignment was to design housewares for the Inspired Home Show student design competition. Austin said that the initial design idea "came from a friend who brought up the dilemma of buying avocados at the store, but never having them ripe enough to use when she initially wanted them." This issue would occasionally lead to unintended food waste. The discovery "inspired me to research the massive problem of food waste in our country and around the globe which led me to develop an environmentally friendly solution that would help to reduce the amount of food that is wasted."
Alma's mission is to reduce food waste while simultaneously being an eco-friendly product that helps the user practice reduced buying habits and lower their carbon footprint. Alma refrigerates produce without the use of electricity and expedites the ripening process of fresh produce so it can be enjoyed when desired.
About the Department of Applied Design
The Department of Applied Design is dedicated to fostering excellence in design education, design research, and professional placement. The department balances theoretical and pragmatic approaches while exploring an awareness of the impact of design decisions on the global community. Sustainability and ethical responsibility are integrated as part of a holistic approach to creative problem-solving. The mission is to provoke an educational foundation that prepares students to enter the design profession and become leaders in the design community.