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Building Sustainable Food Systems – Part 1

2011-2012 PARTNERS: GROWING POWER CHICAGO, REHABILITATION INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO

ARCHEWORKS embarked on a two year collaboration with Growing Power Chicago – a nationally recognized pioneer in grassroots urban food systems – to explore the relationship of design in creating accessible food systems. Our designers considered new forms of community infrastructure that foster a more participatory local food culture from the perspective of inclusivity and access. This included addressing the need for greater public awareness and participation in Chicago’s local food movement among underserved communities and resident stakeholders. The design team developed proposals for several modular, portable structures that support urban farm infrastructure, including a prototype for a multi-purpose shade canopy to prepare harvested produce and anchor community gatherings. Informed by Growing Power’s approach to using readily-accessible, affordable materials, the team built and installed the first of these simple canopies at the entrance of a new community-managed farm at Altgeld Gardens, a public housing community on the city’s far south side. Our illustrated DIY manual guides Growing Power staff, volunteers, and other grassroots urban growers through a step-by-step construction process to install this structure at their own farm sites. Upon completion of year one, Growing Power planned to build additional shade canopies at several other farm sites in Chicago communities. The design team also proposed wayfinding solutions to improve pedestrian safety and access on an industrial street leading to Iron Street Urban Farm, Growing Power’s farm and educational campus in Bridgeport.

Funder: Linberg O’Brien Foundation
View and download the Shade Canopy Building Manual!

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