Super Powers Cultivate

Mitchell Joachim and Maria Aiolova of Terreform 1 have launched the From Mowing to Growing competition, aka the One Prize.

The competition hopes to inspire design research into “larger issues concerning the environment, global food production and the imperative to generate a sense of community in our urban and suburban neighborhoods.”

From Mowing to Growing is not meant to transform each lawn into a garden, but to open us up to the possibilities of self-sustenance, organic growth, and perpetual change. In particular, we seek specific technical, urbanistic, and architectural strategies not simply for the food production required to feed the cities and suburbs, but the possibilities of diet, agriculture, and retrofitted facilities that could achieve that level within the constraints of the local climate.

Citing the work of Fritz Haeg, the competition brief points out that “North Americans devote 40,000 square miles to lawns,” more than is used “for wheat, corn, or tobacco.” Further, U.S. residents “spend $750 million dollars a year on grass seed alone while only 2% of America’s food is locally grown.” So, the competition asks:

How can we break the American love affair with the suburban lawn?
Can green houses be incorporated in skyscrapers?
What are the urban design strategies for food production in cities?
Can food grow on rooftops, parking lots, building facades?
What is required to remove foreclosure signs on lawns and convert them to gardens?

Prizes go as high as $10,000, and judges include Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr of Architecture For Humanity, vertical agriculturalist (agriverticality?) Dickson Despommier, and many more. Register by March 31, with submissions due before April 30.

3 thoughts on “Super Powers Cultivate”

  1. While working as a clerk in a hydroponics shop a few years back, I spent my free time dreaming about how to incorporate hydroponics systems in the fascia of a glass skyscraper – all that sunlight! – with gravity helping to migrate nutrient flows down the side of the building, a gradient of high-fertilizer crops to low fertilizer crops at the lower end, with nearly nutrient free water at the bottom. Pump that water back up (a system of thin solar panels covering the frames between glass panels?) and through various systems of fountains to help oxygenate it, then inject fertilizer at the top and have it cascade back down through the system.

    A high-tech thin-film Incan terrace system, a hanging garden facing the sunniest side of the building, a wonder of the modern world. You wont have to worry about tinting the windows because the plants will filter the light for the people inside, casting a rain-forest color. Employees can get free crops in exchange for tending the gardens on their breaks.

  2. Will Allen's Growing Power in Milwaukee is one of the harbingers in the hydroponic and aquaponics in the Midwest. His operation on Silver Spring Road serves a local community and serves as a technological testing ground for scale.

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