Conversation this weekend about food trucks in New York City working to update 30-year-old laws governing street vending: though Twitter is touted as a way for fans to locate your wandering concession, it turns out that having a large number of Twitter followers doesn’t necessarily lead to more business. But it does get you a meeting at City Hall — Council members want their names Tweeted favorably to all those virtual constituents!
The founders maintained an aggressive publication schedule (nearly daily!), hosted offline typographic tours, published two beautiful books of selected posts and comments, an exhibition, and a publication on civic branding and design culminating in the Più Design Può conference in May 2009. Unfortunately, though the SDZ site receives a good amount of traffic, an active community of commenters never really materialized and the daily maintenance had become increasingly difficult to sustain. Still, it’s a high note to end on.
I had the great pleasure of meeting the site’s publishers Gianni Sinni and Andrea Rauch at the conference in Florence and was impressed with the depth of their politics and the ease at which they integrated their civic commitment with their studio practice. Now that they are free of the daily publication schedule, I look forward to seeing what new endeavors they develop. Grazie a Andrea e Gianni.
At the intersection of urbanism, DIY, food justice and sustainable agriculture, a crop of artists are making open source gardens and sharing instructions on the web and beyond.
Britta Riley and Rebecca Bray build hydroponic Window Farms from recycled materials. The farms are specifically designed with New York City apartments in mind, and the website invites window gardeners to share photos, plans, designs and information.
Edible Estates is a project to convert the classic American front lawn into a productive vegetable garden. Initiated by architect and artist Fritz Haeg on Independence Day, 2005, several prototype gardens were created in different cities across the United States, with instructions and documentation of the prototype gardens posted to the site. 2009 sites have not been announced, but the group is ideally looking for “A monotonous housing development of identical homes... where the interruption of the endless lawn would be dramatic and controversial.”
The Future Farmers’ Victory Gardens project is fought on two fronts: to deliver urban garden kits to urban farmers across San Francisco, and to ultimately develop and maintain a portion of the original Victory Garden space in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
The Garden is a feature-length documentary film about a 14-acre community garden in South Central Los Angeles that emerged in the wake of the 1992 LA riots. The film chronicles the origins of the plot and the South Central Farmers struggle to prevent it from being demolished.
On the more underground tip, Guerilla Gardening is illicit, nocturnal gardening in a space not your own. guerrillagardening.org lists projects, mostly in London, each with a description, location, photos, and budget. The site includes tips for making your own.
Seed bombing is packing seeds in compressed soil and throwing it into inhospitable or hard to reach places. Artist Liz Christy was the first to use the term in 1973 when she fought urban decay by tossing seed grenades full of sunflower seeds into abandoned New York City lots. Here’s a scan of her original instruction sheet. Christy also co-founded the first community garden in New York City.
And onto Gardening 2.0: Landshare is a UK website matching people who want to grown their own food with homeowners with underused space. The site also hosts an active forum for sharing tips and answering questions.
And with your veggies in hand, VeggieTrader is a website for trade, buy or sell homegrown produce.
I’m sure there are many more sites and projects, too. Between the recession and growing concern about industrial food systems, there seems to be something of a renaissance going on here.