A team of architecture students from the California State Polytechnic University have designed a sustainable community garden, which will be constructed using a combination of recycled shipping containers and rammed earth. It will also run entirely on solar power. They are currently raising funds through a KickStarter campaign to begin making this innovative plan a reality.
The project is called the Huerta del Valle Community Garden and it will serve low and middle income people in the Ontario, Los Angeles area. Here, residents can currently pay $10 per year to rent a their own plot of land on which they can grow vegetables and fruit. These plots measure 20 x 10 ft (6 x 3 m), while there is also a larger, communal section. The produce grown on the latter is sold and this money is then used to keep the garden going.
The students have designed a series of new additions to the community garden namely an amphitheater, library and classroom, as well as a kitchen and playhouse, which would be made out of a used shipping container. Before, all meetings and get-togethers in the garden would take place outdoors. Now, the amphitheater will be used for weekly meetings. To build it, they will first have to excavate the site, then they plan to use car tires used to retain the soil and create seating space. The excavated soil will then be used to make the rammed earth walls of the library and classroom, both of which will be covered by a green roof. The earth wall will contain about 10% cement to make it sturdier.
They will also build a shaded structure for storing tools and materials. This structure will be topped by a solar panel array, which will produce enough power to keep the garden running, while the extra electricity will be fed back into the grid.
The rest of the project will go ahead regardless of the funding campaign, but they are currently raising funds to help build the kitchen and playhouse. They plan to use two shipping containers, which will be used to make two semi-outdoor spaces. To protect the spaces from sun and rain, they will use heavy canvas curtains, which will make the structures useable in all conditions and seasons.
They hope to raise $17,000 through the KickStarter campaign.