Urban Farm Coming to Downtown Atlanta

Thursday, August 25th 2011

A $35,000 investment from Wal-Mart will transform a vacant lot across City Hall into a working farm.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Wal-Mart representatives and officials from the Office of Sustainability and Sustainable Atlanta announced on August 24 a competition to design an urban farm on 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. In addition, as part of Wal-Mart’s initial funding, there is a $25,000 award to the winning submission.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to create a sustainable and accessible greenspace in the heart of Downtown that will serve as a model and educational tool for similar projects in the future,” said Mayor Reed. “I want to thank our partners at Wal-Mart for their generous support of the urban farm and their commitment to bringing fresh produce to inner-city neighborhoods.”

Supported by Wal-Mart, the design competition will transform the site of the old traffic court building – vacant for several years – into a thriving demonstration farm. “We are honored to support this project, which will ultimately promote local foods, create jobs and build community,” said Wal-Mart Regional General Manager Karen Brewer-Edwards.

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.

“By engaging a consortium of city leaders and experts from outside organizations, this cutting-edge demonstration project has the potential to inform a wide range of stakeholders on the benefits of local food programs,” said Sustainable Atlanta Director Suzanne Burnes.

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 http://www.trinityavenuefarm.org 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 demonstration project will support 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.

“Local, sustainable and organic food practices have numerous health and environmental benefits,” said UGA’s Director of Environmental Sciences Susan Varlamoff. “Local food is often fresher, eliminates negative externalities, such as carbon emissions, and supports our local economy. We applaud Mayor Reed and the city for joining the local food movement by showcasing urban agriculture right in the heart of downtown.”

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