Joseph Redwood-Martinez is yet another advocate and participant in the movement of urban agriculture. Joseph’s take on it however, is a different one than I have seen before. According to his take on the current state of the US economy, the slump in the real estate market has left cities, especially California, full of open and empty spaces. “We know that real estate will come around. We know that the people that want to build 12 billion dollar apartments will. In the meantime lets go for some new creative legislation. Lets create a new kind of rental agreement, not a lease, but a license. Lets call it an interim use license.” His suggestion is an interesting approach to land that is currently inactive. The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association did just this with Hayes Valley Farm. This project is based on an Interim License with the city, transforming this empty space into a growing community center until it can be used for something else. Free land, volunteer work, and recycled materials keep this project at extremely minimal costs, while getting members of the community together and teach people of the possibilities within their cityscape. “When economy recovers, not if but when, and when development starts, we move. Peacefully. We are not tied to the space, the thing we are tied to is San Francisco. The thing were tied to is a healthier ecosystem in our city and using this as a demonstration of what is possible in the temporary so all of those vacant realities can be transformed.”
I think it is hard to ignore the powerful message behind bringing community together and making living spaces more visually pleasing. Projects like these are meant to provide people with opportunity and hope, while converting wasted space into a sustainable and productive area. By producing a video with a very intimate one on one dialogue we are allured by Joseph’s message. Images of what he has been able to produce through a community outreach program, getting as many people involved as possible, we as viewers have no choice but to applaud his valiant effort.
Assignment of the Day:
Is short term growth a valuable use of temporally limited space? Is it more valuable to educate people for the short term or grow for the long term?
Truck farm is the product of two Brooklyn dwellers looking to provide an eye opening experience for others while providing themselves with fresh and local produce in the space they have. Using many of the techniques that are available for green roof technology, Ian and Curt converted their 1986 Dodge Ram truck into a portable and efficient vegetable and herb garden. Alive Structures, a Brooklyn based green roof service team, provided the truck farm with rainwater management systems. These systems helped optimize the growing potential of the truck and convert a seemingly untraditional growing surface into a fully functional garden.
I think the great part of this mini series is the image that is portrayed to us as viewers. Although I am not sure that they are encouraging all of us to convert all of our untraditional growing spaces into gardens, I think the message they are portraying is that if you have the motivation you can grow fresh produce nearly anywhere. These gardeners are seemingly normal Brooklynites, not necessarily rich with an agricultural knowledge base. However, they were inspired to create a sustainable system that people could see, experience, and understand. This small garden plot could be built nearly anywhere, patios, rooftops, window planters, etc. Although they keep the cost of converting this space disclosed, the pride and end product of creating a green space in the city is worth the money.
Assignment of the day:
Think of the space you occupy on a daily basis. How much of this space are you using to its full potential? How much of this space is wasted? What makes this space important to you? Could a shift in the spaces meaning increase your felt value towards it?
Located on the Queens shoreline, Rockaway Taco is a small collective of people working to provide the community with a local food option. Rockaway taco is a NYC establishment that has created an alternative to the typical city understanding of a “corner store”. Growing as much of their own produce as possible in the tight confinements of city property lines and encouraging the intake of locally produced goods, Rockaway suggests that our current consumption of goods from far away places is not our only option. Maximizing our space in urban environments and producing a product that no longer has to be moved long distances is the next logical movement in “green development”. Rockaway provides the local community with a market full of fresh goods, a menu full of locally inspired food items, and a space for gardening produce that can than be sold through the Rockaway store front. This video and this establishment have inspired me since the first time I saw it to one day create a sustainable restaurant that not only grows as much of what it needs as possible, but also works to provide inspiration for others to work towards a greener way of living.