Grounds for Change: Activating Vacant Land



Tags: agriculture, bioremediation, building, business, community, entrepreneur, food_security, greenhouse, grow, livestock, lotoflots, lots, Philadelphia, planting, produce, repurpose, retrofit, reuse, SPIN, sunflowers, urban, vacancy

Using neighborhood ownership of urban farms to support local businesses and food security.

Farmadelphia, a plan espousing urban agriculture, food security, community action, and small business ownership, was a finalist in the 2005 Urban Voids competition.

New York City architects FRONT Studio explain their proposal: Conversion of vacant lots and parcels can happen at any scale, from a single lot to citywide. Farmadelphia presents one vision of urban farming introduced across Philadelphia, encouraging community cooperation and entrepreneurship along with better nutrition and food security for all neighborhoods and income levels.

The conversion of vacant lots into farmlands not only provides employment in the industry of agriculture but also empowers residents to take charge of their lives and their land. Each block maintains responsibility for its own farm harvest, encouraging entrepreneurship throughout the larger community as block owners vie to sell their goods to regional specialty restaurants and shops. The creation of localized centers of activity, each related to a specific crop or harvest promotes small town relationships while strengthening an overall sense of pride and commitment in the community. The cultivation of local gardens provides an opportunity for residents to access fresh and nutritious food.

The ‘Farmadeliphication’ of once decrepit buildings into farm structures advances fresh ways of seeing old structures as well as allowing for an organic transformation of history that contributes to the present day fabric.