Bridget Kane is a candidate for a Master of Architecture degree studying at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto. To find out more about her Networking Cultivation project email her at kane.bt@gmail.com The full set of images are available at www.slowhorizon.wordpress.com .
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Last summer I needed a change of pace from working within the confines of studio so I set about creating an independent research project that would examine another one of my personal passions: food! Specifically, wholesome, organically grown, and ethical food at that. Focusing on Toronto’s city farming scene through research alone didn’t seem like enough, and so I was lucky to secure an organic farming internship at Fresh City’s production farm and greenhouse at Downsview Park. Once a week I learned the basics of organic production, met some amazingly passionate and dedicated Torontonians (probably some of whom have cared for the produce in your Fresh City box this week!) and spent a summer outside in the sunshine surrounded by happy plants – not too bad! Networking Cultivation is the research component of this summer journey into city farming in Toronto . It tells the story of four organizations currently acting in and on Toronto’s existing ecological infrastructure. It is the examination of entrepreneurial, ethical, and ambitious methods of using and improving the productivity of terrain in the downtown core for agricultural purposes. The four agricultural ventures I focused on were Fresh City Farms, Not Far From The Tree, the Toronto Beekeeper’s Co-op, and the Yes In My Backyard program hosted by The Stop Community Food Centre. Each case study, documented in a series of scaled maps, architectural drawings, and diagrams, organizes itself according to different principles and interests but share a common beginning and a common means of occupying time and space.
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Fresh City is an amazing example of entrepreneurial spirit fueled by social responsibility and ethical consumption. Its growth over the past year proves Torontonians care about where their food comes from and how it was produced. The three illustrations of Fresh City included within Networking Cultivation document the location of its production farm and member farmer plots, along with its distribution zone. The production farm’s spatial form and organization was of particular interest to me because of the way intelligent design governs the weekly routine of harvesting and processing produce in the greenhouse, while supporting and educating a decentralized group of member farmers. Compiling all of this data and depicting it visually helped me to better understand the growing contemporary phenomenon of ephemeral and episodic urban farming ventures using vacant or overlooked spaces in the city. The most exciting city farming programs all seem to be using decentralized spatial networks to their advantage. In other words: there is useful, fertile land everywhere and we can use it to our advantage. You could say the intersection of being an aspiring foodie with a passion for architecture lies in understanding the design of Toronto’s growing healthy food networks!
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