Sustainable Urban Food Production agriculture workshop in Los Angeles

During Mar.31 to Apr.1, Jimmy participated in the Agriculture Workshop sponsored by Perkins+Will in Los Angeles. And the Team 3, which has Jimmy, won the first prize in the workshop.

The workshop group was tasked with designing a vertical farm on a parcel within this zoning area. Ethnic neighborhoods surrounding the LA River are currently identified as food deserts with no real access to fresh produce. With this in mind, the teams set out to bring the country to this predominantly industrial neighborhood.

On Mar.31, we run a tour to LA Cleantech Incubator’s (LACI). Touring to LACI facility helped us realize the potential in marrying clean-tech ideas with business mentoring.

With the nearby LA Kitchen, Goodwill culinary training and worksource station, we identified an opportunity to foster economic growth by serving as a hub for local culinary businesses.

Community members would be able to rent a full industrial kitchen, garden space as well as offices and administrative resources.

Offering these resources would empower the larger community to not only produce their own healthy food, but also to create businesses that would over time mitigate the “food desert” status.

Eighty thousand square feet of vertical farming area would produce twenty pounds of crop per square feet, which at wholesale price would yield us $6.4 million annually.

Our team also integrated rooftop garden towers and avocado and fruit trees, which would yield an extra half a million dollars annually.

Visitors ride a glass elevator up the vertical farm tower to a rooftop restaurant and garden, where they are served savory dishes with fresh produce directly from our vertical farm (Tower to Table), while enjoying sweeping views of the LA River.

The first day’s meeting point set the tone for the attendees, who for the most part were curious first-timers participating in Agritecture’s design workshop.

From soil-based agriculture to a crash course in water-based agriculture, workshop participants were provided with the guidelines and required deliverables necessary to satisfy the judging criteria.

Once the presentations were out of the way, we finally got a chance to personally meet the members of our respective teams, and loosely define a game-plan for the following day.

The second and final day of the workshop was held in the Los Angeles offices of Perkins + Will, a research-based architecture and design firm specializing in areas of sustainability, resilience, and health and wellness.

Team 3 (our team) was designated a large desk in the northeast corner of the firm’s office, with windows large enough to grant entry to morning sun’s rays. Energized by the sun, we began brainstorming and soon allocating tasks to all members of the group.

Before joining the group in LA, I had made it clear to myself that winning was not the priority of this “friendly competition”, but the ability to appreciate the gathering of like-minded people and being able to reach a common goal, and that was what Team 3 was able to accomplish.

The synergy among the group allowed for respectful dialogue and last minute changes/additions to be easily incorporated into the final presentation. Occasional visits from the members of the Agritecture team helped guide and keep us focused as we got closer to our deadline.

Working with a limited time-frame, architects Avideh and Jimmy were able to piece together fine computer-based architectural pieces, allowing Jerome, Niels, and Heather to focus on calculating numbers pertaining to leafy green and mushroom production costs, while Brian, Manuel, and Mishael mapped out a suitable marketing strategy.

As a team, we were keen on providing a solution that not only brought our vertical farming vision to life, but was also sensitive to the needs of the community.

Our final design proposal was a building that gently slopes up to become a tower - a glimpse into how urban agriculture could affect urban form in new and interesting ways.

In conclusion, the LA Agritecture Workshop was a valuable and fun experience. Thank you to Perkins+Will for sponsoring and hosting the workshop!

For more information, please check here on the workshop official website news.

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