A Call to Farm: FarmShare
By Jonathan Tucker
“A Call to Farm: FarmShare” is an initiative originally submitted to the Challenge in 2009 as “BK Farmyards,” and in that year it reached the finalist phase. The proposal offered by BK Farmyards’ founder Stacey Murphy is a strategy to turn under-utilized private and public land in Brooklyn, NY into small scale vegetable farms. This intriguing project has returned for the 2010 Challenge with additional layers of development, and has reached the semi-finalist phase.
The new approach of the organization is to utilize online social networking to help scale out and make more efficient the connections and discussions happening on the ground within this movement. FarmShare summarizes its intentions: “FarmShare reconnects farmers and consumers as co-producers of the foodscape. The strategy uses social media to pool all the resources of Brooklyn into a crowd-sourced decentralized farm. Urban farmers need organization to give political voice to the movement and legitimize these workers as farmers. The logistics of urban farming forces hundreds of farms to act individually, scavenging for land and resources. To make urban farming a viable business, new infrastructure is required for sharing experience and resources."
Recognizing the proliferation of online media and social networking, the proposal has potential to successfully leverage emerging technology towards mass-dissemination of information and circulation of resources, thereby accelerating the accessibility of urban farming to a wider population of consumers and participants, and improves the robustness and resilience of individual farms within the network.
FarmShare provides examples of how they may be able to accomplish these goals via the development of an online platform: “The platform can track how much waste is diverted from landfills; who was instrumental to starting and maintaining a farm; and what the radius of influence is around farms. This data can be used to convince local officials to support new bills or grants that will be helpful to the local food economy...The strength of a city is its density of resources, but those resources are useless if there is no infrastructure for sharing...We are in a communication revolution that is reorganizing our communities, and social networks are better predictors that people will find others with shared values. Our strategy addresses the thousands of people who are hungry for local food, effectively making them agents of their own community change.”
This project, like other entries that have re-submitted in subsequent years to the BFI Challenge, is exciting because we can witness the evolution of its ideas and the realization of the project. Michael Ben-Eli, a colleague of Fuller’s states, “experience is the link to new cycles of design- each cycle becoming more inclusive, comprehensive and wise.” This seems to be true of the journey upon which BK Farmyards has embarked.
Click here to visit the BK Farmyard website to learn more.
|About The Author: Jonathan Tucker|