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Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture

Visioning Workshop Summary Report November 2010

cultivatis

Prepared by:

agriculturally focused sustainable environments


Table of Contents Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture

Visioning Workshop Summary Report

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . II BACKGROUND & INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Purpose & Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 A Response to a Crisis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 A Growing Movement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

WORKSHOP OVERVIEW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Experiential Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Sustainable Urban Agriculture. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Neighborhood Building . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Economic Development & Job Creation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Childhood Health & Community Nutrition. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

OUTCOMES, GOALS AND VISION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Vision Statements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

Final Vision Statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Next Steps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Appendices. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14-16 Appendix A- Conceptual Farm Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Appendix B - Acknowledgements & Sponsors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Appendix C - Participants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

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Executive Summary On November 1, 2010 a Visioning Workshop for the Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture was held at Discovery Place. This day long workshop was the result of several months of informal meetings, discussions and planning with various groups and stakeholders. The goal of the workshop was to assemble a wide array of community members, stakeholders and industry professionals to think critically and creatively about how a facility like this could be utilized to address the present and future needs of our community and how it could benefit different segments of our population. The group was charged with the task of creating a list of key topics, concepts and goals for the project and to ultimately create a vision statement that would be applied to the future discussion, planning and design of what we hope will become a model facility for Urban Agriculture and Experiential Education. Cultivatis, a local Planning and Urban Agriculture consulting firm organized and facilitated the workshop. A presentation of the current local, national and worldwide issues that surround and support the need for a “re-localization� of our food system kicked off the workshop. Questions about how, where and who will grow our food in the future were discussed as well as the importance of educating our youth and the population at large about food production, nutrition and sustainable living principles. A lively group discussion followed by two break out sessions explored the topics of Experiential Education, Sustainable Urban Agriculture, Community Health and Nutrition, Neighborhood Building and Economic Development / Job Creation. The concept for an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable facility that will become the leadership and supporting organization for a growing network of food based and community outreach initiatives became the result and core vision for the Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture. As we look to gain broad based input and support for the project, the coming months will include presentations and small group meetings with potential partners, stakeholders and the general public. These meetings will help us further refine the vision and goals of the project before we begin the fund-raising phase. For more information or to find out how to get involved with this exciting project please contact Cultivatis at 704.904.1216 or Info@cultivatis.com

cultivatis

Vision Statement

The Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture (CCFUA)will be a model sustainable urban farm that teaches youth and the Charlotte community about sustainable agriculture and nutrition through outdoor experiential education. The CCFUA will become the leadership and supporting organization for a growing network of food based and community outreach initiatives. A physical nexus and focal point for the redevelopment of the North Tyron Corridor, the CCFUA will promote access to fresh local food, support new business development, and provide volunteer and work programs through partnerships with corporate, faith based, educational and gover nmental organizations.

agriculturally focused sustainable environments

CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Executive Summary

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Background & Introduction Much like preparing the soil for your own backyard “victory style” garden, there is a process and steps to be followed in order to ensure a successful harvest. Even with that , there is no guarantee of a bountiful crop. The process of creating the vision for a state of the art urban farm and education center has not been much different. Over a year ago the first seeds for the concept were planted by the team at Cultivatis. A bit of stubborn persistence blended with just a dash of luck and we have successfully reached a critical milestone in the development of our ”victory garden.” The Visioning Workshop held on November 1, 2010 at Discovery Place was our “harvest” and the wide variety of great ideas from the hand picked group of workshop participants will be processed, vetted and utilized as fodder for future conversation, planning and design of what we hope will become a model facility for Urban Agriculture and Experiential Education.

Purpose & Goals The purpose of the Visioning Workshop was fairly straight forward: Gather a wide range of individuals, stakeholders, community leaders and industry professionals for a one day creative session that would explore the key components and concepts surrounding the idea of the urban farm and education center. Through lively discussion as a large group and in small group breakout sessions, the concept of establishing such a facility in Charlotte was to be explored, critiqued and processed with the goals of: 1. Creating a better understanding of the social, economic and environmental challenges that have resulted in the need for such a facility. 2. Challenging the group to think critically and creatively about how a facility like this could be utilized to address the needs of our community and benefit different segments of our population. 3. Charging the group with the goal of creating a list of key topics, concepts and goals for the facility and how they could potentially be integrated into existing and proposed infrastructures. 4. Creating several “Vision Statements” for the group to review and distill into a “Master Vision Statement” that will be used for future communication related to the concept, facility programming and eventually facility design.

CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Background & Introduction

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A Response to a Crisis The world is facing enormous problems regarding the current industrial system of agriculture upon which our dinner depends. This system is based largely on petroleum, a resource that has passed its global production peak and whose remaining quantities existing either under the soils of regimes unhappy with America or beneath great depths of ocean and ice. The burning of fossil fuels that underpin our industrial food system emits greenhouse gasses that help to further destabilize our climate causing problems that include increasingly chaotic weather patterns that are unfriendly to farmers. Inches of topsoil that took thousands of years to create are washed away in one rainstorm due to agricultural practices that fail to recognize its value. The synthetic chemicals used to support the unnatural existence of millions of acres of monoculture cropping help to poison the soil even before they make their way into our streams and rivers causing further degradation of our already polluted waterways because of course all of this is happening upstream as well. Where we can find clean water - for instance the ancient aquifers that span several states in the Midwest- we use it to irrigate crops at a rate must faster than it can be recharged. The resources used to grow food in the fashion we currently favor will not be available to our children. And what then has been the result of this Faustian Bargain in which we’ve enter into? 15% of the US population goes without food on a regular basis. 1 in 7 Americans is on food stamps and because of the lack of quality of our calories 2/3 of Americans are overweight. 1/3 third of US citizens born after the year 2000 will develop diabetes. Others will develop dietary-based diseases related to eating in a culture where we have turned food into merely a commodity to say nothing of the dangers of food-borne illness in a system that is chemicalladen and includes the use of hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, cloning, irradiation and genetically modified organisms. But what might be even more shameful is the joy we’ve lost by degrading our dinners. When six year old children think we don’t need farmers because food comes from the grocery store we have a problem. Not until we reawaken the spirit of healthy, happy eating in our kids can we suggest that we are serious about taking back control over our food system and remaking it in an image that is wholesome and satisfying. The vision and concept for The Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture is born out the need to help us change the current course we are on concerning our relationship with food, our health and more importantly our children's future.

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CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Response to a Crisis

1 in 7 US households hit by hunger issues in 2009 USDA, 2009


A Growing Movement A collision of social, economic and political issues has given the Urban Agriculture and Local Food movement a great boost in the past three years. Communities across the nation have been quietly planting the seeds of change in the form of Urban Farms, Community Gardens, Farmers Markets, Community Supported Agriculture Programs, Rooftop Gardens and just about everything in between. If it’s local, it’s in demand. Increasingly people want to know where their food comes from and who grew it. They want to be sure the food they eat and serve their children is safe and chemical free. This fundamental shift in our collective attitude towards our food system and environment is helping push the demand for locally produced products forward as well as into our headlines. From Boston to Milwaukee, Charlotte to Birmingham, urban farming initiatives are in full swing. The Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture hopes to become a leader in this movement both locally and regionally. We are researching and studying the best practices of multiple cutting edge facilities across the nation for ideas and solutions to incorporate into the concept. Notable examples of such programs are Growing Power in Milwaukee Wisconsin, The Food Project, in Boston Massachusetts. Jones Farm in Birmingham Alabama and the Ohio City Farm. There are multiple other efforts underway and the movement continues to grow. Philadelphia just released its 2035 vision plan and agriculture will be a core value as the city looks to manage its growth and best provide for its citizens, And most recently, Cleveland just announced a 1.1 million dollar pilot program to create the Cleveland Urban Agricultural Incubator Project. Local officials hope the facility will not only turn people into entrepreneurs but will help convert a food "desert" into an oasis of fruits and vegetables. As our society continue adjust to “the new normal” we feel Urban Agriculture and its wide variety forms and programs will continue to make headlines as more of us begin to take small steps towards self sustainablity.

photo credits: The Food Project Jones Valley Urban Farm

CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP A Growing Movement

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Workshop overview The Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture Visioning Workshop was a one day intensive program that quickly got participants up to speed with the current issues and trends surrounding our nation’s food systems and associated deficiencies. Below is a outline agenda of the days proceedings.

Monday November 1, 2010 Windows on Tryon, Discovery Place Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture Visioning Workshop Agenda 8:30 am - Welcome & Team Introductions

Facilitated by Milt Rhodes, an independent charette and workshop facilitator whose expertise at getting participants to “do the heavy lifting” needed to get the core values of the topic, was critical to an efficient and productive workshop. After a short presentation by Aaron Newton of Cultivatis on the “big picture” issues surrounding our nation’s food systems, the group quickly began discussions about how those issues are having an impact locally. Cultivatis prepared a list of critical or “key topics” for the group to explore in a set of small group break-out sessions. Charged with creating a set of ideas and goals for their assigned topic, the small groups were set free to “get their hands dirty” and pressed to work smartly and quickly. Small group results were presented and discussed by the group at large. Looking for similarities and ideas that overlapped between groups, Milt began to develop a master set of key items and goals that could be used for helping the small groups create their vision statements. The afternoon session was spent in small groups where the participants created a unique vision statement for the project. These vision statements were presented to the group and briefly discussed.

Background / Big Picture Presentation 9:15 am - Short Feedback Session 9:45 am - Facilitated Workshop Introduction 10:00 am - Small Group Sessions 11:00 am - Small Group Presentations and Discussion 12:00 noon - Lunch 12:30 pm - Speaker - Jim Noble, Jim Noble Restaurtants 1:00 pm - Vision Statements in small groups 1:45 pm - Vision Statement Presentations 2:00 pm - Closing Remarks

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CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Workshop Overview


Experiential Education A key topic and future component of the Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture will be Experiential Education. The group as a whole determined that education from pre-kindergarten, and beyond to grade 12 was to one of the most important aspects of the project. The small group assigned to the topic developed the following list of key ideas and goals that relate to the project and Experiential Education:

The project should “Illuminate a path of hope” It should be multi-cultural It should provide learning opportunities for ALL age groups It should depict and exploit emerging technologies It should be accessible to both “newbies” and experienced gardeners. It should become a “Think Tank” on food and food policy It should create mentorships It should be immediately relevant It should not be sterile It should let kids get dirty

CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Small Groups

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Sustainable Urban Agriculture Sustainable urban Agriculture will be the core of the project. The workshop participants developed a number of key factors that should be addressed by the project so that it efficiently provides access to fresh local food and provides links to farms outside of the urban core.

The project should address the issues of: Eating seasonally Connecting facility with local farmers It should be self funded It should promote local food It should stack uses to increase efficiency It should create connections with local restaurants It should promote sustainable living It should evolve organically It should showcase innovation in farming

CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Small Groups

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Neighborhood Building Key to the success of the project will be the need to gain favorable and broad based support from the surrounding neighborhood and community at large. The small group assigned this topic discussed various items that could be implemented to ensure that the project provided a connection to the community.

Some of their ideas were: Create a “Farm Mobile” Develop relationships with local schools, churches, and community groups Make it “cool” to grow your own Provide logistic support for communities to create gardens Create neighborhood volunteer and leadership programs Give support for and help develop other community farms Create partnerships with other local food and hunger relief groups Create “pride of place”

CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Small Groups

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Economic Development Economic development and job creation will be a positive result of the successful operation of this project. The opportunities for job creation and business development in the existing neighborhood and beyond will be explored and nurtured as the project becomes established and grows.

Some of their ideas include: Work to develop a new class of Urban Agriculture jobs. Develop relationships with teaching institutions to create training & jobs programs. Develop Agriculture and Sustainable Products small business incubator. Create teaching and counselor opportunities through workshops, camps etc. Develop research based programs related to Urban Agriculture and sustainable systems initiatives. Develop “gardener to farmer” programs. Create partnerships with local food service industry. Utilize the “give the man a fish” theory to establish education and future jobs programs.

CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Small Groups

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Childhood Health & Nutrition The opportunity to develop health and nutrition programs for the community through a project like this will be extensive. Based on a solid education program, people of all ages will be given the opportunity to learn and participate in programs that will have a positive effect on them personally and on the greater community as a whole.

Some of their ideas include: Make connection between food and health outcomes. Teach people to cook fresh food. Make sure programs reach children, parents and grandparents. Take small steps to reach people where they live. Create an “Adopt a Grandparent” program. Link to school system for development of fresh food pilot programs. Make fresh food and cooking “cool”. Connect with Park & Rec., Health Care institutions, Slow Food Charlotte, Green, Health Department.

CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Small Groups

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Outcomes, Goals, and Vision Through both large and small group discussions, a common but powerful element emerged as the leading component from which to use as a foundation for all future discussions, planning and programming. Education, more specifically Experiential Education, clearly rose to the top of the list in nearly every discussion group. Programming for the project clearly must be education based. Another common thread among small groups was the need to establish a wide and deep network of partners, both public and private. The concept that the Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture should become a “clearinghouse� or over arching entity that can provide organizational support, fund-raising and educational opportunities for all other community based agriculture, local food and stainability efforts. Creating a physical nexus to provide the services outlined in the small group sessions would be key to establishing not only a architectural statement for the North Tryon Corridor but would serve multiple services for all community and education efforts.

CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Outcomes & Goals

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Vision statements Creating a vision for the Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture was one of the primary goals for the workshop. Participants were charged with this task before the close of the final session. Based on the day’s discussions and presentations, the groups created a single vision they felt would act as a guide for how the project should proceed. These vision statements will be distilled into a final compelling description of the state and function of the organization. This statement will act as a guide for all future planning, programming and design of the facility. The following is a collection of Vision Statements from the workshop:

“A place to come together that will change the way we think about food through education, experience and interaction.” “Achieve a means to give everyone local access to food choices for healthy living”

“A place where people want to be” - To learn nutrition (vegetables) - To learn beauty (flowers) - To learn job skills (farming) “We aspire to promote environmentally and socially sustainable agriculture by providing an Urban Agricultural Center, because we value healthy individuals, communities, education & Great tasting food!”

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CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Vision Statements


Final Vision Statement Based on the small group vision statements and conversations with participants, a final vision statement was prepared for the Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture:

Vision Statement The Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture will be a model sustainable urban farm that teaches youth and the Charlotte community about sustainable agriculture and nutrition through outdoor experiential education. The CCFUA will become the leadership and supporting organization for a growing network of food based and community outreach initiatives. A physical nexus and focal point for the redevelopment of the North Tyron Corridor, the CCFUA will promote access to fresh local food, support new business development, and provide volunteer and work programs through partnerships with corporate, faith based, educational and governmental organizations.

CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Vision Statement

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Next steps As we look to gain broad based support and input for the project, the coming months will be busy scheduling presentations and small group meetings with potential partners, stakeholders and the general public. These meetings will help us further refine the vision and goals of the project before we begin the fund-raising phase. Detailed programming for the project will follow the group presentations and soon after that the design phase of the project will commence. We anticipate a scheduling a series of small, charette style meetings to kick start the design process. Utilizing an Integrated design process we will establish a quadruple bottom line performance matrix that will help guide the design of the facility. By bringing all design disciplines together during the charettes, the design process will be expedited and the end result will be a more efficient and complete facility plan.

For more information about the

Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture Please feel free to contact Cultivatis at 704.904.1216 You can also email us at: Info@Cultivatis.com

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CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Next Steps


CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Appendix - A

Rain Garden/ Water Catchment

Work Room

Greenhouses

conceptual farm plan

nts

Signage

Orchard

agriculturally focused sustainable environments

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cultivatis

Potting Shed

Demonstration / Kitchen Garden

Welcome Center

Perimeter Gardens / Orchards

Composting Vermiculture

Caretakers Cottage

Animals

Nov ember 1st . 201

an Agriculture

Post Harvest

Participant Housing (typ.)

Cultivated Fields +/- 1 Ac.

Charlotte Center for Urb

Conceptual Farm Plan

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Acknowledgments The Visioning Workshop for the Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture could not have been possible without the generous commitment from the following sponsors and participants. Thank you all for your time and dedication to the cause.

Sponsors DISCOVERY PLACE

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CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Appendix - B


Participants Dean Briere Carol Burke Robert Bush Chris Cecil Robert Corbin Kathleen Cornett Geoffrey Curme Megan Dean Susan Evans Laura Foxx Thomas Gentry Peter Gorman Sue Gorman Patsy Kinsey Tony Kuhn Joe Lamp'l Anthony Lindsey John Mackay Mark McGoldrick Aaron Newton Jim Noble Scott Provancher Jennifer Roberts Alston Robertson Todd Serdula Christy Shi John Short Cissy Shull Debra Smul Terry Taylor-Allen Donna Thrasher

Discovery Place North Tryon Partners Arts & Science Council Discovery Place Board of Directors Discovery Place Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Department Mount Vernon Asset Management Fit City for Fit Families Discovery Place Former Trustee, Discovery Place, Inc. UNCC Professor of Architecture Superintendent, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Parent University Charlotte City Council Vision Ventures Growing a Greener World CRVA Board of Directors Discovery Place Discovery Place Board of Directors Cultivatis Jim Noble Restaurants Arts & Science Council Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners Cultivatis Cultivatis Know Your Farms Charlotte Mecklenburg Neighborhood and Business Services Charlotte Green Discovery Place Interested Community Member Food Policy Council

CHARLOTTE CENTER FOR URBAN AGRICULTURE VISIONING WORKSHOP Appendix - C

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Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture Visioning Workshop Summary Report  

Summary report for the Visioning Workshop for the Charlotte Center for Urban Agriculture.