Sunday, October 25, 2009

Urban Farming's Food Chain Project

Pilot city: Los Angeles, CA

Years: 2008-present

Partners: Green Living Technologies and Elmslie Osler Architects

Urban Farming, a Detroit-based non-profit that plants food in unused space, started a vertical farming project consisting of “edible” food-producing wall panels mounted on walls. The food is grown without the use of pesticides and is irrigated with an automated drip irrigation system woven into the wall panels. Each wall about 24’-30’wide and 6’ tall. It is composed of 2’ X 2’ X 4” interconnected recycled stainless steel panels. People who own the walls will donate a portion of the harvests to neighbors and organizations in need.

The vertical gardens are currently in four locations around downtown Los Angeles, including a supportive housing project in Skid Row, Rainbow Apartments. The tenants of Rainbow Apartments installed and maintain the vertical gardens and eat the fresh produce. The wall systems of the Food Chain concept are as “links” connecting to each location by intention and design, as well as presenting a new definition for the familiar term, ‘food chain’. The Food Chain offers immediate access to fresh produce, greens the environment, creates team-building and skills-training, and provides an opportunity for community service and involvement. In addition, particularly in areas where concrete and steel are plentiful and ground space and greenery are scarce, the Food Chain will help to lower the heat index and the effects of global warming.

The hosts and new owners of the Urban Farming Food Chain’s first four walls are: The Weingart Center; The Rainbow Apartments (In partnership with the Yankee Apartments); The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex.

The Food Chain pilot project in Los Angeles is partially funded by gifts and grants from The Annenberg Foundation, the Los Angeles Office of Community Beautification and Warner Bros Entertainment, with many materials and professional services donated by Green Living Technologies, Elmslie Osler Architect, Cal Poly, Greenheart Farms and Meyer Trucking.

Weingart Center - After

Weingart Center - Before

Rainbow Apartments - Installation

Rainbow Apartments - Residents

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