Above is a 0.8 acre vacant plot of land across the street from Atlanta’s City Hall. Now imagine this lot turned into a vibrant urban farm. The future of the lot will be shaped by the winner of the Trinity Avenue Farm Design Competition. This competition is being hosted by The City of Atlanta and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives and is sponsored by Wal-Mart. The mission is to use this plot as a conduit for establishing “an effective and aspirational model for urban agriculture within Atlanta communities.”
The winner will be announced on December 5th. Andrew Tate, Emory graduate and EASL alum, and his team have made it into the final round. Tate has spent his whole life in Atlanta. He said, “a lot of what I did at Emory, minoring in Environmental Studies with a joint major in Anthropology and Religion, focused on the culture of sustainability and the emerging environmental ethic globally, nationally and locally.” He is interested in the ways sustainability is becoming mainstream and is getting recognized for myriad economic and public health benefits informing resilient green infrastructure and urban planning.
During his senior year, Tate studied abroad in Freiburg, Germany. One of the ‘greenest’ cities in Europe and the world, Tate noticed the “sustainability initiatives in Freiburg such as light rail public transit, sprawl limitations, renewable energy, and community gardening encourage a network of thriving, more livable neighborhoods.” Freiburg is designed and retrofitted for sustainability and, upon his return, Tate wanted to bring as many of those ideas that he could back to Atlanta.
|Sketch from proposal for Trinity Avenue |
Farm Design Competition.
|Emory In the World Magazine (Spring 2011)|
Featuring Story about Tate's journey to Freiburg.
After reading the public service announcement from the Mayor’s office about Trinity, Tate had a chance encounter with the director of operations at the Goat Farm Arts Center (and founder of Fresh Roots Farm), and a team began to form. Tate recalls, “from the competition description they were very clear in that they wanted a productive farm on the site, but they wanted it to be a place that was really focused on education and community engagement. In order for it to be truly sustainable it’s got to be enjoyed and sustained by the diverse Atlanta community.” Tate’s main role in creating the project proposal was developing programming for a number of diverse and effective community actors such as, Trinity Community Ministries and WondeRoot. His goal was that the land would “not only be shovel ready in the physical sense but that there are partners standing by to use the resources of the farm to the benefit of the community.”
Not only is the farm strategic in bringing affordable fresh produce into nearby food deserts, it also serves as an educational resource, a sustainability demonstration site, and a symbol of community, culture and art. The community organizations and the winning team will carry out the success of the farm, and Tate’s team is a diverse group consisting of landscape designers, urban farmers, rainwater collection experts, solar energy planners, architects, students, artists, and entrepreneurs. Tate emphasized, “Our project is well thought-out on the technical side, but art is purposely central; as it’s been seen in numerous neighborhoods throughout Atlanta, public art is a collaborative way to challenge Atlantans to reflect on the places they inhabit. This ongoing reflection, when coupled with strategic sustainable redevelopment and community engagement, opens up the possibilities for genuine, people-driven revitalization and local economic development. Community gardening in particular has a long history in Atlanta, and our design will build on that existing ethic.” Tate, his team, and the Mayor’s office are showing urban dwellers everywhere, especially in Atlanta, that we have the power to build happier, healthier communities.
|Andrew Tate (left) and team present proposal to Mayor Kasim Reed as part of the Trinity Avenue Farm Design Competition.|