On a particularly hot and sticky day, the winners and finalists of Good Magazine’s Redesign Your Farmers’ Market competition were announced this week in Los Angeles. The competition asked creative minds from all over the world to come up with potential solutions to two apparently divergent issues: feeding a growing urban population while shortening the time and distance between farm and fork.
There were over 65 entries from as far away as New Zealand that were narrowed down to 22 finalists by a jury of architects, urban planners, journalists, city leaders, chefs, and farmers. Winner and finalists were exhibited on the South Lawn of city hall during the 30th anniversary celebration of farmers’ markets.
The winner was a concept put forth by LA-based Mia Lehrer + Associates for a mobile vending concept consisting of a fleet of electric trucks dispatched from three permanent markets to disperse fresh produce more effectively in Los Angeles. The system takes advantage of the city’s trademark culture of taco trucks and other assorted mobile eateries. It’s such a simple yet sensible idea.
The runners up included more conceptual approaches by im Studio mi/LA and Michael Leung, as well as a pragmatic concept to use existing channels of mass transit to sell produce by BCB Architects. From green roofs to modular markets to low flow flea markets, the submissions definitely offered lots of food for thought. A full list of the finalists is on view here.
Until cities can actually implement some of these ideas and make it possible for all of their urban denizens to enjoy farm-fresh food, farmers’ markets will remain more a form of entertainment than a real means to feed a growing urban population. But clearly there are ways to accomplish both goals, and hopefully this exercise will help keep the dialogue alive.
Photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker