Design Open Mic: Urban Agriculture and Magic Bus
A recap of our fully packed Design Open Mic program from Wednesday, June 22 --
First up, talking about the history and future of urban agriculture, we had Gabriel Kaprielian, Design Fellow with Architecture for Humanity. Gabriel spoke specifically about the Bay Area movement and some of the Architecture for Humanity San Francisco Chapter projects -- past and forthcoming -- that are a part of the local urban agriculture movement. A couple chapter projects that were highlighted were the Hayes Valley Farm Greenhouse, a completed project, and the Sunol Agpark, a project currently in the design development stage. Gabriel's presenation about the history and current buzz surrounding the urban agriculture movement (which can be downloaded in PDF version, below), provided a perfect segue to introduce Eli Zigas and Ashley Rood -- co-coordinator and volunteer, respectively -- who spoke briefly about the policy and advocacy work that they do with the San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance (SFUAA).
After hearing about local happenings from the urban agriculture presenters, we shifted our focus across oceans with a presentation from Rahul Rashmi Brahmbhatt, General Manager of Magic Bus, a non-profit organization that works to empower children in the slums of India through exposure to outdoor and sports activities. Rahul shared with us the incredible story of how his organization was founded. In 1998, founder Matthew Spacie was practicing rugby with friends in Mumbai when he noticed maybe 25 or so slum kids at a bus stop across the street. Everyday during Matthew's practice, these kids -- ranging from ages 16 to 18 -- would stand behind the chain-linked fence that separated them from the rugby field, and watch the action. Matthew one afternoon encouraged the kids to jump the fence, and from that day on, he became their coach and mentor. Because the kids couldn't pay Matthew for his mentoring services, Matthew cleverly arranged for the kids to return the favor by having them take the bus every Sunday to mentor and engage with an additional 50 kids, younger than themselves, in the slums of south Mumbai. And so began the Magic Bus program. Check out the short video produced by Magic Bus, below, that provides a very powerful introduction to the importance of and need for the organization's work.