Few mantras have revolutionized New York City's food movement like "farm-to-table" cuisine. Farmers markets, community agriculture shares, food co-ops and boutique eateries all claim to bridge the gap between the organic grower and the city dweller, but few consumers know how far away that local farm truly is; how many miles their produce travelled from seed-to-stall, and how large the system's effective carbon footprint is. EAsT River challenges the city's current food production and distribution strategies, proposing instead a local agriculture spine to run along the East River Esplanade.
Questioning the latest movements in sustainable food sourcing, the project attempts to localize the harvesting, growth, and delivery of produce by supplanting unused waterfront space with community gardens to run along the river. Using a trifold strategy, EAsT River attempts to activate the esplanade as a vital core of food production in the city.
Primarily, the design scheme proposes to relocate the city's growers markets and CSA shares onto the esplanade, localizing them on the site of the urban produce gardens. By centralizing the food growth and distribution processes on one site, the East River takes on an active role in showcasing and educating the community about the self-sustaining production cycle from field-to-fork.
Secondly, the project enables the creation of multiple scales of urban farming, ranging from micro container gardening, to raised bed and hydroponic systems, to vertical farming initiatives. Varying the scale of production enables local farmers to cater their growing strategies based on specific crops while maximizing the potential of underutilized urban growing surfaces including bridge overpasses, abandoned infrastructure and reclaimed urban refuse.
Finally, the project attempts to foster outreach and advance food justice by connecting local growers with food banks, soup kitchens, and community pantries. Locating educational food labs, delivery bike share systems, and produce drives side by side with markets and co-op shares, EAsT River hopes to facilitate farm-to-city partnerships, addressing local hunger while eliminating food waste.
Ultimately the project strives to actuate the waterfront as a dynamic visual food web, enabling urban growers to maintain the germination, generation, and celebration of their local food scene.
Location: New York, NY