The Whittier Organic Food Center for Los Angeles, which “flips” greenhouses vertically, is a state-of-the-art food production testing and learning facility. It recently took top honors in the Cavin Family Travel Fellowship.
As you might know, organic food centers and community gardens are becoming ever so popular everywhere. But the required large area for greenhouses creates so many problems.
That is where a self-sustaining vertical farm becomes very useful. With the Whittier Organic Food Center, we can utilize the higher altitude for on-site energy generation from increased wind and solar exposure.
The system also incorporates gravity-fed hydroponics, housing for students and farm laborers, and space for farmers’ markets, and the on-site food bank reaches out to those in need.
The system creates opportunity for social sustainability by leasing areas for micro-agro business, storing crops for disaster relief, and distribution and sales to local restaurants and cafeterias.
Daniel Toole, who designed the system, is an architect at Perkins + Will in Seattle and he won the 5th Annual Cavin Family Traveling Fellowship award for his work.
He expects his work “to become a catalyst for a new form of Southwestern urbanism, utilizing the land, a small footprint, the sun and the scarce water supply”.