DIY Utopias: Growing Against All Odds 11.01.10

Posted: October 22nd, 2010 | Author:

If you missed (or loved) the opening weekend events, “Brooklyn Utopias: Farm City”, the exhibit is still on view through December 12 and the curators (Katherine Gressel and yours truly) are presenting another special public program for your further greenification:

“DIY Utopias: Growing Against All Odds.”
Monday, November 1, 2010, 7-9pm

Old Stone House, 2nd Floor Gallery
336 3rd Street (between 4th and 5th Avenue)
JJ Byrne (Washington) Park
Park Slope, Brooklyn 11215

Suggested donation: $10
Beer, Soda and Light Snacks Available

The evening will feature hands-on skillshare with activist-artists in an intimate gallery setting. Moderated by experienced DIY-artist Mary Mattingly (of the Waterpod (2009)), four artists/environmental leaders will demonstrate that anyone can contribute to the urban farming movement, turning “Utopian” vision into concrete action.

You will learn some techniques that the busiest of urban dwellers can practice in their own homes. Brooklyn Brewery and Bruce Cost ginger sodas will provide libations to accompany light snacks designed to enhance the learning process.


(1) Rooftop Micro-Farming : : Frieda Lim, Slippery Slope Farms

Frieda is an artist, activist and agrarian.  She will demonstrate how to build and install simple windowsill or rooftop planters capable of yielding food with simple materials, little effort and low maintenance, using Sub-Irrigated Planters (SIPs).  Slippery Slope Farm is a modern urban sub-irrigated rooftop micro-farm located in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Lim designed the project to be simple to install, easy to maintain and capable of replication by anyone with a little space and a desire to grow their own food.

(2) Rainwater Harvesting : : Andrew Casner, GrowNYC

Andrew will demonstrate how to install a rainwater harvest system at your home or apartment, saving potable tap water for people.  Andrew, also known for his Compost Painting contribution to the “Brooklyn Utopias: Farm City” exhibit, works on a crew that installs rainwater catchment for community gardens.

(3) Permaculture & Compost : : Claudia Joseph

CORRECTION! Claudia holds a diploma of permaculture from Permaculture Institute, U.S.A. and has taught and practiced permaculture for 15 years, on both coasts. She manages the farm that surrounds Old Stone House Historic Center.  She practices food foresting and small scale intensive gardening.

If you have ever wondered what “permaculture” is about and how you can get involved, Claudia is the right person to see.  She also specializes in soil building and bio-remediation techniques, explaining some simple steps that you can take at home to turn food waste into “black gold.”  She has taught at Merritt College (CA), the Berkeley Ecology Center, Oakland Botanical Demonstration Gardens, BBG and NYBG among other places.

(4) School Farm Planning & Planters : : Aki and Ron Baker : Adopt-A-Farmbox

Adopt-A-Farmbox will lay out their civic engagement strategies for organizing support for school farms by using the process of building simple planter boxes to catalyze community and to connect around growing food.  Adopt-A-Farmbox builds and donates “farmboxes” to schools in New York City, including several schools throughout Brooklyn. Adopt-A-Farmbox is a volunteer-based, grass-roots campaign started in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn and has become an exemplar project integrating community development with education, food, creativity and agriculture.

During this evening, the curators will be on hand to introduce key themes and artworks in the exhibit, reflecting on the specific role of artists in envisioning a greener Brooklyn and contributing to its growing DIY culture. Ultimately, the event will aim to reflect on how some these “DIY” methods together can foster a more integrated, combined effort toward more sustainable living

The evening will also feature an unveiling of Brooklyn Farms: Past, Present, Future, an outdoor digitally-printed banner mural by Katherine Gressel, to eventually be hung on a construction fence in the park.

Visit for complete information on “Brooklyn Utopias: Farm City” including a recently uploaded “living catalog” that will be continuously revised to include more images and information throughout the remaining run of the show.

Filed under: FarmCity.US, Urban Agriculture | No Comments »
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