Water, Labor, Land

Van Alen Institute’s Climate Council looks at designing for the future of food

Landscape Architecture West
Van Alen Institute's Climate Council overlooking the Alameda Creek (Vannesa Wright of XSIGHT Productions Inc.)
Van Alen Institute's Climate Council overlooking the Alameda Creek (Vannesa Wright of XSIGHT Productions Inc.)

Covering more than 300 miles to visit 12 sites over three days, the 22 members of Van Alen Institute’s new Climate Council visited the Central Valley area of California earlier this month to explore the impact of climate change on food production.

The environmentally minded architects, engineers, designers, and other professionals who compose the council met each other for the first time in the bright light of Sacramento. They exchanged ideas and shared meals during a trip curated by Van Alen in collaboration with the University of California Davis Innovation Institute for Food and Health.

They visited small urban gardens in Sacramento and giant farms in the countryside. They toured the largest tomato processing facility in the state and a third-generation produce distribution company. They met with land experts and innovators in food production and transportation and learned about water management and worker housing challenges.

On the last day, Van Alen teamed council members with University of California professors and students for a workshop on Designing for a Future of Food. The inter-disciplinary teams explored how designers and the farming community could work together to tackle regional problems and inefficiencies brought about by climate change. Workshop results are providing the foundation for the council’s next trip early next year.

In AN‘s September issue, read more about Van Alen’s Climate Council and what they learned about water, labor, and land and designing for the future of food.

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