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Thursday, August 25, 2011

City of Atlanta Embraces Urban Agriculture

Thanks to a generous donation by WalMart, the City of Atlanta and Sustainable Atlanta announced an urban agriculture design competition for a vacant lot across from City Hall.  The Trinity Avenue Urban Farm Design Competition was launched to support the city's effort in establishing an effective and inspirational model for urban agriculture and furthering the city's pursuit of becoming a Top 10 sustainable city.

Trinity Avenue Urban Farm Site
With the ultimate goal of showcasing how fresh food can be grown locally and sustainably, the competition will promote creativity and innovation in the design of the farm, as well raise awareness of the farm itself. The Office of Sustainability is consulting on this multidisciplinary project with Sustainable Atlanta, the Atlanta City Council, the University of Georgia School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Georgia Organics and Truly Living Well.

Transforming the old traffic court site into a vibrant demonstration farm supports the City of Atlanta's "Power to Change" sustainability plan and its commitment to bring local food within 10 minutes of 75 percent of all residents by 2020. "The Trinity Avenue farm will be a living visual of the city's dedication to sustainability," said Office of Sustainability Communications Manager Aaron Bastian.

By taking the form of a contest, the Trinity Avenue Urban Farm project  expands its contribution beyond the immediate area to urban farming in general.  According the Jenah Zwig, Project Manager for the City's Sustainability Office and the internal force behind the project.  “This competition hopes to inspire an innovative vision of what’s possible when rethinking conventional urban farming.”

The contest is open to students, educators and professionals across Georgia in fields related to urban agriculture and landscape architecture. Interested competitors must register online at this link by October 15 and submit proposals by November 1. Once the winning design is chosen, the preparation of the land and design installation will begin immediately, with the farm scheduled to open to the public by the spring of 2012. There will be a $25,000 grand prize awarded to the winning submission.

The City of Atlanta is taking their sustainability commitment into ACTION.  It is inspirational to witness the collaborative efforts of government, universities, non-profits and private enterprise come to fruition in substantial, long-term projects like the Trinity Avenue Urban Farm Design Competition.

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