Instructor: Coleman Coker
Course: Public Interest Design
Semester: Summer 2015
Duration: 10 Weeks
Teammates: 15 Students (Interdisciplinary)
The Farm Rover is meant as a prototype to address a unique confluence of interests and concerns from the City of Austin’s sustainable food initiative, Green Gate incubator farms, and the Multicultural Refugee Coalition (MRC). The city was in search of innovative solutions to encourage local food systems that could take advantage of otherwise unusable floodplain land. Green Gate encompasses a large swatch of this land. But its relative proximity to the farm’s existing infrastructure discouraged cultivation. Lastly, the MRC’s waitlist of refugees looking for farm plots was continuing to grow.
The generation of more farmable land at Green Gate, which actively employs refugee farmers, became our essential goal. We knew that achieving this would mean not only the conceptualization but also the real-world implementation of a prototypical solution for floodplain farming in the city of Austin.
The final design was a mobile unit that integrates tool and water storage, shelter from weather, and easily accessible workspaces, and can be assembled out of simple materials within a reasonable budget. Between a fixed deck, frame, and roof, the infill was designed and constructed as a series of modules, specific to our prototype but interchangeable depending on the unit’s primary site, be it an urban or rural farm or a community garden.