The decommissioned Lincoln Heights Jail, once home to notorious gangster, Al Capone, may soon be revitalized thanks to the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation, City Council District 1, and pro bono work by renowned architecture firm, Perkins + Will.
The jail, built in 1949, is currently listed as an LA historic-cultural monument and is owned by the city. The conceptual design envisions the property as a green zone and LA River access point. The first phase of implementation calls for a 24,000 square foot “urban agricultural space” on the roof of the six-story building. The River Revitalization Corporation is already working with potential operators and reports state that a demonstration project could be up and running in 18 months’ time.
Since 1993, the Pre-Release center, a division of the Cook County Jail, has operated an extensive vegetable garden, using inmate labor, during the summer months. Over those same 17 years, they have shipped more than 50 tons of fresh produce to homeless shelters and other deserving non-profit organizations; involving more than 400 inmates in hands on learning in horticulture, from planting to harvesting; and , since the year 2000, officially certified more than 200 of those inmates as Master Gardeners following classroom instruction and on site testing.
With the assistance of the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service, inmates are taught a wide range of organic farming and gardening skills in a supportive, constructive, and positive environment; skills which are meant to enhance their prospects for gainful employment upon release. A plot of land within the Cook County Jail complex measuring approximately 30,000 square feet serves as the “classroom” for this unique rehabilitative horticultural program.
by Emily Badger
Earlier in July Emily Badger reported in The Atlantic Cities about Pierre Desrochers, an economic geographer at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Mr. Desrochers has written a book which attempts to eviscerate the Urban Agriculture movement’s main arguments, from its economic rationale to its environmental one.
Mr. Desrochers claims that, “Over the last few years, the local food movement has become … a rebellion against globalization, against big agri-business, against the way food is produced. His followers believe locavores aren’t mere silly liberals. They’re a menace. In fact, the people in this room, led by Desrochers, view locavores with about the same conspiratorial alarm with which some food activists view Monsanto.
Make sure to read this fascinating article via The Atlantic Cities and comment here what you, So|Aware readers, think of Mr. Desrochers’ arguments.
The first large-scale, community-run, rooftop garden in the United States recently opened on top of the Mercer Street Parking Garage in Seattle. The UpGarden development represents an innovative new approach to urban agriculture by converting almost 30,000 sqft of a fifty year old parking structure into a vibrant community garden in one the city’s densest neighborhoods.
The project was funded by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods P-Patch program. Throughout the design process, Kistler | Higbee Cahoot collaborated with community members in several design workshops, to generate a garden design and organize a volunteer-led construction process. Constructed in 2012 largely through community efforts, the new garden created over 120 new garden plots for nearby residents while also providing a habitat essential creatures like honey bees and birds.
Related post: How Rooftop Farming Will Change the Way We Eat
FARM:shop was developed by Something & Son LLP, an eco-social design practice, with three ambitious goals – 1) To excite and inspire city dwellers to grow their own food, fabric and medicine and make an income doing this, 2) To create direct links between farms in the countryside with communities in cities, and 3) To grow food commercially via a network of FARM:’s across cities and retail this food at FARM:shop’s.
In July 2010 they began the transformation of a four story dilapidated shop into an urban farm and advocacy center, located in East London. Since launching in Spring 2011 they are now operating as a sustainable business growing fish, chickens and lots of salad, and running a cafe, workspace and events venue. Their process combines art, engineering and business know-how to find creative ways to improve the world around us.
Be sure to check out the behind the scenes video here.
Spotted via: TNYPXL
With a passion for agriculture and technology Mohamed Hage, founder and president of Lufa Farm, is leading a company that designs, builds and operates greenhouses on rooftops. Lufa farm opened in winter of 2011 and is the first commercial green house in the world to be installed on a roof – it provides fresh vegetables to local consumers. Hage oversees all daily activities at Lufa Farms, but he is particularly interested in research, planning, construction and operation of the greenhouse environment. His goal now is to see this new model of agriculture gradually integrate into rooftop urban metropolises.
Restaurant owner wants to cultivate veggies on Upper King
Michael Shemtov, owner of Charleston’s Butcher & Bee restaurant has grown from a small vegetable garden in back of the shop to envisioning a half-acre urban farm on a vacant lot across the street. While Shemtov is still testing the feasibility of his idea he has been confident enough to release a site plan developed by the design firm Urban Edge Studio.
The plan includes a work station, hop house, an herb garden, four main crop areas, and small plots for community members to garden. So far city officials have been supportive of the initiative. Shemtov has built a multidisciplinary team including a natural-building expert from Root Down Designs and an agriculture consultant from Crop Up, an agency that focuses on community-based food projects in urban areas.
Pallets are everywhere, so take the time to find one in good condition and that is not made from pressure-treated wood (due to the leaching from potentially harmful chemicals). They come in different shapes and sizes so don’t assume all pallets are the same. Make sure it’s cleaned off and you’ve inspected it for any stray nails or splintered wood. It’s a good idea at this point to wear a sturdy pair of gloves while inspecting and cleaning the pallet.
About Growing a Greener World:
Growing a Greener World is a groundbreaking series that delivers the latest trends in eco-friendly living mixed with traditional gardening know-how to a modern audience. The series will inspire viewers of all ages with stunning HD video, a fresh and engaging style, and always a compelling story.
Each episode will feature the people, organizations, and events that are making a difference in our world today by raising awareness and influencing others to better stewardship of the environment we all share.
Wedged in on a small piece of land between large parking lots, the SPACEPLATES Greenhouse Bristol, functions as a class room and growing space for the horticulture students and their teachers at the South Bristol Skills Academy. The Greenhouse Bristol is the first building to be completed with the SPACEPLATES BUILDING SYSTEM. The greenhouse enables the school to study and grow plants all year round, and will be used for seeding and growing plants for the outdoor gardens adjacent to the site.
Unlike Bucky Fuller’s well-known and well-tested domes (where the number of different parts are kept at a minimum) the SPACEPLATES BUILDING SYSTEM takes advantage of contemporary technology to mimic more complex naturally occurring geometries. This version of the SPACEPLATES Greenhouse is based on the sea urchin geometry, where hexagons are arranged on a geodesic grid on a sphere. Five spheres intersect each other and form a sequence of spaces.
Growing Cities is a documentary film that examines the role of urban farming in America and asks how much power it has to revitalize our cities and change the way we eat. In their search for answers, Dan and Andrew take a road trip and meet the men and women who are challenging the way this country grows and distributes its food, one vacant city lot, rooftop garden, and backyard chicken coop at a time.
Join them as they discover that good food isn’t the only crop these urban visionaries are harvesting. They’re producing stronger and more vibrant communities, too. The film will be ready for release at the end of 2012.