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Greening up the city

Inuvik is a long way from 50 Cent’s hometown of Queens, N.Y, but the hip-hop mogul shares something in common with people in the Northwest Territories community — helping citizens to flex their green thumbs.

Inuvik is a long way from 50 Cent’s hometown of Queens, N.Y, but the hip-hop mogul shares something in common with people in the Northwest Territories community — helping citizens to flex their green thumbs.

Inuvik residents and the award-winning rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, have worked to establish or refurbish community gardens in their respective hometowns where locals can grow their own food.

What’s more, both have incorporated eco-friendly elements into their frameworks. The Inuvik Community Greenhouse, built within an abandoned arena, has an on-site composting facility, while the Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Community Garden uses rainwater collected in two underground cisterns to irrigate the garden while also providing a place for kids to play.

The two projects are among several featured at “Carrot City: Designing for Urban Agriculture,” an exhibit showcasing innovations in city farming and gardening and shining a light on urban dwellers involved in community gardening projects around the world.

Ryerson University professor Mark Gorgolewski and associate professor June Komisar, both with the department of architectural science, along with Joe Nasr of Ryerson’s Centre for Studies in Food Security, are curators of the exhibit. Gorgolewski said the intent of Carrot City is to explore urban agriculture’s effect on building and city design.

“We were interested to think about ... if we’re going to produce food more locally what does that mean for the city?” he said in an interview at the exhibit at the Design Exchange in Toronto.

“How are spaces in the city going to change? What sort of buildings should we be designing? What sort of spaces between buildings, and also how much food can we potentially produce from within the city environment?”

While estimates vary, Gorgolewski said somewhere between 30 and 50 per cent of the food needed for eating in Toronto could theoretically be produced within the country’s largest city.

 
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