October forum: Urban Agriculture

October 7, 2010

Join GreenhomeNYC’s monthly forum as we learn about urban agriculture. What if NYC could grow food in un-used spaces within the city, with social benefits for older New Yorkers? Wednesday, October 20th, 2010. 6:30 to 8:00pm New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE), 160 Varick Street, 12th floor, New York, NY 10013 (building is labeled ’10 Hudson Square’) RSVP or sign up for AIA credit. Please RSVP by noon on 10/19. Scroll down for AIA learning objectives. We’ll hear about the NORC Farms project, with creators Gita Nandan of Thread Collective and Derek Denckla of TheGreenest.Net. They will present an innovative way to re-think our underutilized open spaces through an urban agriculture strategy. NORC Farms turns the inaccessible lawns within Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC) in public housing complexes into farm plots and social spaces. NORC FARMS will use urban agriculture to transform grass into a socially, ecologically, economically productive space; activate older New Yorkers, and transform public housing into local agriculture; where the tower in the park becomes the tower in the farm. Ms. Nandan and Mr. Denckla will connect to their other current projects on expanding urban agriculture across the Five Boroughs, and FarmCity. The forum will be held at New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE) at 160 Varick Street, 12th floor. NYC ACRE is an incubator for clean technology and renewable energy start- up companies. Speakers Gita Nandan, thread collective. A founding partner of thread collective, Gita is an accredited professional with the USGBC, using LEED guidelines on several ground up buildings currently in design. Gita is at the forefront of sustainability in New York City, serving on the board of GreenHomeNYC for many years and, most recently, worked extensively on the USGBC’s Green Codes Task Force. Gita believes in sustainability as a holistic and supple design approach, integral to all aspects of design and construction. She also puts her beliefs into practice as an architectural educator, using sustainability as a lens through which to understand the direct and indirect relationships between architecture, community, people, and economics. At the core of her teaching methods is a tactile sense of learning, encouraging hands-on exploration to investigate design and sustainable systems. Derek Denckla, TheGreenest.Net. Derek’s background involves work on housing justice, community lawyering, green buildings and neighborhood sustainability. An example of his recent work is developing Greenbelt Condominium, the first LEED Gold certified building in Brooklyn, providing affordable space to the local arts community. His company, Propeller Group, seeks sustainable venture projects that enlist private investment to fulfill community needs. AIA Learning objectives Sign up for AIA credit. The participant will be able to articulate the landscape design strategies used in order to transform vacant urban spaces into viable land for community use. The participant will be able to describe the challenges encountered during the various stages (space selection, space assessment, design and implementation) and what measures were employed to overcome these obstacles. The participant will be able to discuss the psycho-social benefits an urban agricultural space may have on the city residents, in particular the elderly population; and why it is important for designers to be cognizant of how certain design elements impact human health and behavior. The participant will be able to enumerate the sustainable features of NORC Farms and what distinguishes these urban spaces from other urban green sites.