Friday, August 20, 2010

A veggie offset

I've been looking at redirecting my practice, with the aim of creating a practice with a future. One way of doing this is suggested in Design Futuring by Tony Fry, where a small architectural practice, among other redirective strategies, established a small urban farm as part of their practice (p 229 - 230).

I've been thinking about exploring this idea in my research for a while now - but this has been a longstanding activity of mine anyhow.  I've been growing my own food in a rather haphazard way since being inspired by Jackie French around 15 years ago.  The idea of growing your own as part of redirective practice, alongside my continued reading of ideas about sustainability and overconsumption (most recently watching The Population Puzzle by Dick Smith), has prompted me to take the plunge and start including my veggie/food growing as part of my research activity.
I'm thinking of the veggie growing as an "offset" for some of the "defuturing" activities/materials embedded in my practice, similar to a carbon offset.  I'm not sure how I'm going to measure this - at the moment it is just a concept.  It's the antithesis of "the externalisation of costs" that Annie Leonard talks about in "The Story of Stuff"

This is where people and materials are wasted within the production system, whereas I would introduce into my production system, a practice which nurtures, nourishes, and partly replaces having to buy into the industrialised food system and it's associated wastes.  My feeling is that creating an ethical design practice needs to go further to create a "quality based economy" and "environment of care" (p. 218, Fry 2009)
Having said that, for the past two and a half months, I've been buying organic food - meat, fruit n veg, and groceries that do have a lesser footprint.  It's something I've been thinking about for a while but seeing the doco Food Inc. and reading Michael Pollan has really put a bomb under me!

So I've decided as an experiment to include a half hour in my garden everyday which I have a full research day at the home studio.  I'm suspecting there will be some other flow on's from the experience other than just the concept of the offset - more on this later and garden pics to come!  

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