Posts Tagged ‘farming’

For millenials, protest must be pragmatic. Yes, many of us rail for or against one cause or another but really, what’s the point of all the yelling and screaming if nothing comes of it? Also, does yelling and screaming ever convert anyone to your cause? Past generations of protestors have answered that question with a resounding No. So how do we protest? We plant a garden.

Robyn Waxman, a graduate student of design at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco,

“became fascinated with the next generation of designers’ role when it came to protest and civil disobedience, a place designers and artists have been focusing their efforts for centuries. Studying millennials, who are generally considered to be a group of participatory, positive, technologically-savvy 18- to 30-year-olds, revealed some interesting insights: This was a generation that had solid respect for the law and was reluctant to publicly criticize the status quo. “[They] are really concerned about defying authority,” says Waxman, who is 39. “They are looking out for their future.” As her thesis, Waxman proposed an intervention that helped redefine protest for the rising creative group–a form of engagement that would help educate and inspire them in how to take action.

“She realized if confrontational behavior was not in their nature, then she would have to introduce a form of more perpetual protest. Waxman sought to have a group of students physically reclaim a strip of public land bordering the school’s street, which CCA shares with homeless residents as well as day laborers. Waxman believed they could intervene agriculturally on the block–which was littered with hypodermic needles–by growing enough food for the neighbors.”

Urban farming is a growing trend and as a form of protest it is one that many millenials, including myself, can get behind. It’s a productive cause and its effects are tangible. There is something subversive about growing ones own food in the heart of a city; the collision of lifestyles highlights the disconnectedness of city living while also bringing one back to a “simpler time” that many of us never experienced. Urban farming is the most basic protest against the everyday complexities of modern life.

“Protest doesn’t have to be something that people hate,’ says Waxman. ‘That’s what makes it so enticing for this generation.”

Looks like the kids are alright, afterall

(via Fast Company)


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GOOD Magazine is currently conducting  Ideas For Cities, a brainstorming feature that lets readers contribute ideas for improving their cities. Once submitted, the GOOD staff chooses the best idea of the day and posts it on their website. Of course, as an avid urbanist I felt compelled to submit my own idea.

My idea: digitally integrate Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) with web 2.0. My inspiration is drawn from Farmville, a Facebook application that lets users plant and monitor crops and livestock. If you are a Facebook user you likely know someone who uses this app and shares the results of that weeks crop with you. This idea should be extended to real-life CSAs and involve both the farmers and crop recipients.

Basically, a CSA farmer would have a network interface that CSA members could join. The farmer would have a list of crops that he/she grows and each CSA member would check off which crops they have signed up to receive. Weekly the farmer would send out progress updates on the crops (ie. “Beets are medium size and are looking extra red. This years crop is going to be tasty!”). Each user would then only receive updates on the crops they have checked off.

The purpose of this is to engage CSA members, who are largely urban dwellers, even more in the growing process of their food. Many CSA members join a CSA because the idea of local, fresh food is appealing. They may also join because they want to move away from the culture of corporate farming and imported food. By posting updates and status reports the farmer allows crop recipients to be even closer to the food than before. Suddenly, farming becomes very tangible.

The status update that CSA members receive would also be embedded with an RSS feed and a link, thus making it easy for members to spread the word on their crops. The network provides local farmers a chance at earned media and free press, just simply by providing members with accurate updates.

In reality, this idea has endless opportunities for growth and could help CSAs organize better, connect closer with their members and possibly even attract new members. Localism is a burgeoning way of living but its success depends on a critical mass of people adopting it. In the twenty-first century, the internet is the best way to reach many people at once and with a little personal touch and a word-of-mouth strategy, CSAs and localism may become widespread practice.

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