During the events of Tirana Design Weeks, Co-PLAN, Institute for Habitat Development (in the frame of ENV.net project), and POLIS University, engaged students and Tutors to build a Green House using recycling materials, where students curated to grow bio plants and vegetables.
“In developed nations processing, packaging, transportation and storage of food accounts for 80% of the energy used to place food on the kitchen table” and all the processing and packaging of food has created a dissociation between consumers and food production and between food production and final products sold in stores. It is also surprising to find out that many children of the youngest generations often don’t even know where the vegetables and fruits they eat regularly come from; but how could they know that apples come from trees and carrots grow underground if they find them on a supermarket counter or in boxes stored in their freezer? Environmental damage caused by extensive agriculture (like contamination caused by excessive use of fertilizers) and the use of non renewable energies calls for a drastic change in attitude and many believe that urban agriculture – cultivation, processing and distribution of food within the city – would make processes transparent and it would re-establish food and its production as a social relationship and not just as a commodity. Urban farming not only offers a viable solution for architectural and urban innovation and a sustainable source of fresh food cultivation, but, by bringing the food back to where we live, it re-establishes the link between people and nature and it reactivates social interaction. Moreover the city can benefit from urban greening and the maintenance of open spaces and thanks to the “hand to mouth” process we could drastically reduce the amount of non renewable energy employed to produce, process, and transport, distribute and sell food”.
This workshop intended to raise awareness towards this topic and change people’s attitudes towards food production. We believe that the first step towards the establishment of a new social aesthetic could be a small project that demonstrates how with few resources it is possible to start growing our own food, engaging in social interaction and improving our environment.
The theme of the “POLIS_Grows-Green” Workshop will be the design of a low-cost, low-tech greenhouse in POLIS outdoor premises. The greenhouse element for the production of vegetables and plants will adopt a mix of technological solutions aimed at minimizing waste and maximizing productivity levels.