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Is This a Way Forward for Urban Farming?

Pulling in community members and a network of local nonprofits, Phoenix's "Spaces of Opportunity" is an attempt to make urban farming something more than a catchphrase.
February 7, 2017, 9am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Linda N.

The dream is to make local produce available in a suburban food desert. As for the implementation, we'll have to see. For its urban farming project in Phoenix, called "Spaces of Opportunity," DSGN AGNC used a hybrid design approach: bottom-up as well as top-down. Sam Lubell writes, "the firm comes up with a plan, but then the community inevitably changes it to better meet their needs, and then the designers scramble to catch up with an adjusted plan."

The overall plan involves taking a parcel of land and laying out "segmented plots for community gardens and incubator farms. Master farmers will teach apprentices agrarian skills, helping them progress so they can get their own plots to work." Local nonprofits, philanthropists, and community members are actively honing the design, which has broadened to include multiple community-focused uses.

And that's probably a good thing. "Incorporating so many types of uses has helped not only with interest, but also with fundraising." With construction currently underway, DSGN AGNC principal Quilian Riano hopes this model will help urban farming take off in earnest.

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Published on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 in The Architect's Newspaper
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