The Urban Design Forum’s 2021 Forefront Fellowship, Neighborhood Fare, explored how to foster food equity in every New York City neighborhood through the built environment. In partnership with the Department of City Planning and the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, Fellows investigated how city government can strengthen community-based infrastructure to advance food equity.
This year, Fellows developed original projects that explore how to shape better food landscapes, decentralize food hubs, support immigrant-led food businesses, and create community among urban growers. Learn more about their projects here.
by Chit Yee Ng, Cristina Lee, Alexis Luna, Catherine Ponte, Ciara Sidell, Will Thomson, Alejandro Vazquez
Share Shed NYC seeks to strengthen networks amongst urban growers — encompassing community gardeners, urban farmers, school gardeners, and others growing food in the city. We aim to facilitate resource sharing through tools and platforms co-created with these urban grower communities.
New York City has over 20,000 volunteer growers stewarding more than 550 community gardens, NYCHA farms, school gardens, and commercial and nonprofit farms. Limited financial, material, and tool resources are available to growers, often resulting in a culture of competition. Despite these challenges, some growers make an effort to share tools, knowledge, and material surpluses.
Through Share Shed NYC, we have developed a process for uncovering how best to support growers in their existing and expanding efforts to share resources. Our process is designed to be iterative and replicable. We developed this process in collaboration with South Bronx gardens, but hope it can extend to other communities across New York City eager to co-create sharing tools for greater resilience and success.
Through our pilot work in the South Bronx, we created a facilitation guide for community engagement to learn more about growers’ resource needs and preferred sharing platforms. In our report, we have also highlighted some potential outcomes that can serve as inspiration for urban growers as the Share Shed NYC development process continues.
Ultimately, we envision Share Shed NYC to be a set of resource sharing platforms created in collaboration with urban growers that are accessible across cultures, languages, abilities, and economic statuses.
Resource sharing — whether through a platform, tool, or physical space — can support an ever-growing network of growers and advocates to move toward greater empowerment and food sovereignty.