The main subject of my work, either academic, art based, or practical, is Urban Agriculture (UA) and Greening Innovation.I completed as MSc in Architecture, writing my thesis on the potential for food growing in London, as well as a PhD in the school of architecture and design at Brighton University. I currently work with Syrian refugees in northern Iraq, developing home gardens, small-scale agriculture, and tree distribution. Previous to this, from 2014 onwards, I helped establish various urban agriculture initiatives in Dallas, Texas.
In parallel, since 2011 I have been developing a practice of mapping which looks at the quantitative and qualitative potential for food production in cities called the Edible Mapping Project. This ongoing project aims to create provocative and inspiring images of what a food producing city might look like. However, the maps do not stand alone and importantly form part of a participatory walking project, where residents of the city take a walk using the map as a guide.
UA is a broad term and encompasses primary food production as a response to some immediate or specific crisis such as urban sustainability, climate, or war. Specifically, the term UA describes the practice of growing food (vegetables, fruit, livestock and other products) within cities or dense human settlements, often produced intensively, to be consumed by within the same location. It directly engages with built or human-centred spaces as a food producing environment including horticulture, new technologies such as indoor aquaponics, as well as support services such as education and sales. Greening innovation is a term refers to the way people use food production as a tool for spatial, social, political change within everyday life.
The argument isn’t that such environments should produce all their daily food, but that they could produce a portion of their daily food becoming more resilient and less reliant on imports. It is not urban isolation; food grown in cities is a contribution to our overall food supply while will come from a variety of sources.
Please contact me at mikeytomkins at g mail dot com for any questions.