Though the agriculture industry tends to justify its toxic landscape and labor practices through the argument that it feeds the world, nearly 40% of the food produced in the U.S. is spoiled or otherwise never makes it to its intended consumer. Agriculture produces approximately 10% of America’s carbon emissions and is one of the largest landscape systems imbricated in the GND.

This collection of projects illustrates the variety of ways that designers are thinking through alternatives to the hyper-consolidation and exploitation of America’s food system.

Framing Wood Futures
Pacific Northwest

Forest health in the pacific northwest has been in decline due to decades of fire suppression and mismanagement practices, leaving forests at high risk of damage by disease, insects, and wildfire. This project proposes a multifunctional system of forest infrastructure that integrates the historically separated practices of fire management, forest thinning, and restoration. Using Leavenworth, WA, as a pilot site, it also calls for significant public-facing recreation and education programs, integrating communities into the care of their forests.

Author: Lela Robinson
Institution: Cornell University
Instructor: Jamie Vanucchi

Forestation Beyond Boundaries
Owego, NY

Through the creation of a carbon offset market interface, which commodifies carbon emissions, this project aims to incentivize community engagement with newly planted forests in Owego, NY, Visitors are able to track the carbon stored and sequestered over time as well as get involved in forest management decisions. The physical site provides green spaces and bird habitat, and creates jobs focused on the planting, managing, and processing of wood products.

Authors: Mengyi Wu
Institution: Cornell University
Instructor: Jamie Vanucchi

The Harvest Trail
Northeastern United States

Situated along a 700 mile, multi-use, newly constructed trail in the northeast United States, the Harvest Trail proposes an intervention into traditional forms of labor and food production. Modeled after Benton McKay’s 1925 proposal for the Appalachian trail, this trail system aims to increase food production, boost rural economies, and create a new model of labor in which labor takes place on a hyper-local scale.

Author: Josiah Brown
Institution: Harvard Graduate School of Design
Instructors: Amy Whitesides, Studio Coordinator Danielle Choi

Field to Garment
Detroit, Michigan

Centered on radically altering the existing garment industry’s failures, this project aims to establish a new fashion manufacturing industry model in the United States. Through the production of biodegradable garments from its own fields, the campus will create jobs with ethical working standards, institute clean manufacturing and farming principles, and generate low-emissions commodities. Located in the disinvested Kettering neighborhood, the facility aims to prioritize existing residents through investment in community benefits, including public land, and community gardens.

Author: Erin Eubanks
Institution: Louisiana Tech University
Instructors: Thomas Provost and Brad Deal

Land Management @ Scale
California and Tennessee

Identifying scale as an integral part of the success of the Green New Deal, this project calls for large-scale regional and territorial land management practices. Using California and Tennessee as testing grounds, this project proposes a multi-benefit land management model that results in a strengthening of ecological health, better management and protection of natural resources, and an increase in access, recreation, economic benefits, and cultural opportunities.

Authors: Jessica M. Henson, Trevor Lee, Andrew Dobshinsky, Joanna Karaman, Claire Casstevens, Sarah Swanseen, Abbey Catig
Firm: OLIN

Strategies Towards a Red and Green New Deal for Forests
Colville National Forest, Washington State

Beginning with a recognition of Indigenous people as the original stewards of the land and addressing the demands of the Red New Deal, this project focuses on boundary lines where US Forest Service managed lands meet reservation lands. Aiming to rework and expand existing forest management strategies while promoting tribal stewardship, this project restores forest ecosystems and mitigates catastrophic wildfire risk while creating jobs, establishing educational and leadership programs, and developing green energy facilities.

Author: Jason Latady
Institution: The University of Pennsylvania
Instructor: Nicholas Pevzner

Confronting the exploitative commercial fishing industry and the increasing threat of overfishing, this project calls for a transformation and reestablishment of the industry from the bottom up. It proposes a resilient and sustainable modular “aquahabitat” system, generating kelp forest habitat and growing marketable fish species alongside algae and shellfish. Situated on the coast of Southern California, it aims to reconnect communities with the ocean and with their local food sources.

Authors: Andrea Binz, Colin Amos
Institution: University of Southern California
Instructor: Aroussiak Gabrielian

This project addresses the continued systemic racism and historical lineages of state violence, as well as the continued environmental decay generated through big ag’s commodity monocrops. Centered on three actions - collective ownership to facilitate land redistribution, adaptation of USDA subsidies to regenerate ecosystems and build renewable energy, and the establishment of food sovereignty - this project advocates for reparations, restoration, and redistribution amongst Oklahoma’s agricultural sector.

Authors: Rachel Mulder, Leanne Nagata, Sasha Zwiebel
Institution: Yale University
Instructor: Keller Easterling

Located in the Hudson Valley, this project aims to connect farms to communities on a regional and local scale through the generation of a food hub network. Proposing a centralized space where produce can be aggregated, processed, and distributed in a collectively owned location empowers smaller scale farmers. The hub would create jobs for the surrounding communities, and integrate access to the river, utilizing electric barges to transport produce throughout the region.

Authors: Aruna Das, Ishita Ghosh, Kyle Sam, YouJin Hwang
Institution: Columbia University
Instructors: Kaja Kühl (Coordinator), Lee Altman, Anna Dietzsch, Shachi Pandey, Thaddeus Pawlowski