FOOD AND WATER NETWORKS (download full booklet: HowTo_Performing Economies)

As environmental instability continues to transform our cities, how can we connect local networks and individual efforts to work together more cohesively? How can cities utilize the tools of resource decentralization and network interdependency found in global supply chains to provide for each other locally, and how can these local chains more clearly account for social and environmental costs embedded in production?

Recent volatility in global food and fuel costs has increased public awareness of the existing food supply’s vulnerability as well as the detrimental effects of industrialized food systems. As cities increase focus on the effects of climate change on lives, public officials need to fully consider environmental costs as well as the affects of dependency on exterior sources of shipping in food and water.

Strong movements have been building in urban communities across America. People are planting home gardens and forming community-wide initiatives that support urban farms, rainwater collection, and storm water management. Currently, NYC has 7 community farms, 390 community gardens, 3 commercial farms, 117 public school gardens, and 245 New York City Housing Authority gardens.

In 2009 I launched the Waterpod Project: a public space, habitat, and living system on a barge that navigated New York City’s waterways. One of the project goals was to subsist off of the food we grew, eggs from four chickens, solar and bike power, and purified rainwater. All of the materials were found or exchanged through barters arranged with businesses and municipal agencies in NYC. I wanted to figure out how much time was spent maintaining these systems versus our hourly pay working day jobs to purchase these supplies outright. After an initial large investment of our own labor, we ended up with a system that supplied us with all of our basic needs for around 2.5 hours a day.

In 2012 I embarked on the Flock House project: a group of three spherical public spaces that moved around NYC in 2012. Of significant difference was the fact that the Flock House living systems could not fully support a family or even one person. We relied on barter and trade with our neighbors to meet basic needs. One of the goals of Water and Food Networks is to emphasize working together and sharing tools that can empower each other. This booklet explores local ecologies, resource exchange, and practical techniques for small-scale water and food systems.

FOOD AND WATER NETWORKS was written for Performing Economies and Thirst.

Here are plans for the Techne Rover, created for UB, and changes made to my specs for Performing Economies. Blueprints attached:

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