People around the world, especially the underserved, deserve healthy, accessible food—I want to inspire people to grow food at home and teach them how, as well as show the cities how to create intensive food gardens that uphold an equitable, citizen-powered community food network model.
Lying at the heart of what I do, is cultivating urban well-being through a nature-based approach to food justice. At the start of COVID, I created Samuel’s Food Gardens to demonstrate how to design and build DIY food-growing systems with upcycled, affordable materials, even where land is limited or non-existent. I saw the limitation of focusing only on single-site garden projects, realizing that micro typologies such as window sills, balconies, patios, rooftops, and empty lots have great potential to increase urban food growing. It’s possible for New Yorkers to grow food with the simplest DIY methods; however, there is neither sufficient access to nature-based education nor sufficient access to land. I present workshops online to NYC high schoolers on food systems transformation and home food growing—I hope to expand this to other cities and countries. I also work with creating biophilic gardens for social engagement at rehabilitation centers.
My vision starts with spreading free educational access, then building food gardens in empty spaces throughout cities. These micro food hubs would digitally connect to their community entities (schools, restaurants, etc.) and residents via an app, homegrow, allowing citizens to grow and share food from their homes while engaging with other community residents and gardens in a circular system, creating equity. I have initiated discussions with community growers, leaders, and colleagues with expertise in software design on this concept, and hope to take it further while building more micro food hubs.