Farm on Wheels is a product of the partnership between LA-MÃ¡s and Mia Lehrer + Associates. Since its inception, the partnership between MÃ¡s and MLA has aimed to create sustainable communities comprised of innovative civic buildings, well-planned open spaces, and green infrastructure. In our combined efforts we employ a diverse method of research, planning, and design. All of our projects begin with a foundational immersive research phase, which uncovers new design considerations - leading to employable, innovative solutions.
In 2010 the founders of LA-MÃ¡s, Inc. conducted a three-week immersive research program in partnershipâ€¨with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in which we identified impediments to care for children with cerebral palsy.
Through this research we identified â€¨a need for hospital guidelines that prioritize the provision of spatial accommodations for children who had the greatest physical disabilities. This “Hierarchy of Needs” document served as a graphic outline for retrofitting children’s hospitals in the United States as well as internationally.
Mia Lehrer + Associates most important achievements have been their work on the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan and Vista Hermosa Park. The Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan aims to transform 32 miles of concrete-lined river into public green space in the heart of one of America’s most populated cities. As a vital work of civic infrastructure, the river has the potential to integrate a divided city. Key civic leaders joined forces to fund a visionary and technical look at changing the river into a new amenity, a source of socio-economic revitalization and a crucial step towards re-greening the “City of Sprawl.” ML+A designed Vista Hermosa Park as an urban watershed demonstration project that accommodates community and school recreational programs, integrated with an extensive network of introduced natural features and ecosystems. Located at the edge of a dense residential zone, the park incorporates active recreation including a synthetic turf soccer field, trails, water features, a children’s adventure area and picnic areas in native habitat landscapes.
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1 Submitted Idea
- 2013 Grants Challenge
Farm on Wheels is a distribution system to bring locally-grown, high quality produce to all Los Angeles neighborhoods via a customized fleet of clean, biodiesel trucks. Using a centralized stockhouse for produce storage and a series of trucks to deliver a la carte fruits and vegetables, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes, and locally made artisanal food to communities across the Southland, we will provide access to convenient, healthy food that is essential to good health. With access to fresh produce, Los Angeles residents will be better able to prevent and manage the health concerns of obesity, diabetes, and coronary disease.
Farm on Wheels trucks will serve as traveling hubs of healthy food. Departing from a central facility that stores wholesale produce from local farmers, the trucks will travel to communities across Los Angeles, setting up shop at churches, schools, transit centers, and employment centers, operating as a roving farmer’s market. This model offers advantages over traditional farmers markets, which usually come at high costs to farmers because of the labor involved in transporting and selling their goods. Also, customers that have difficulty reaching their weekly farmers market can now visit the truck that comes multiple times a week to accessible, well-trafficked locations.
The trucks won’t just deliver food, but act as vehicles for equity exchange between LA’s geographically and economically varied neighborhoods. Looking at a map of food deserts in Los Angeles, you notice they are heavily concentrated in South and East Los Angeles. It follows that these neighborhoods are also the site of higher rates of obesity and its associated chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Aside from giving residents of these underserved communities access to the farmers markets that are usually reserved for more privileged parts of Los Angeles, there will be more direct exchanges of equity through subsidized products. For example, patrons purchasing produce with EBT will receive a bonus on every dollar spent at Farm on Wheels. Also, a number of free monthly CSA boxes will be funded through revenue from the sale of artisanal goods and CSA subscriptions. All of these alternative revenue sources will combine to make Farm on Wheels accessible and affordable.
Unhealthy diet leads to obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and a host of other chronic diseases. By providing access to fruits and vegetables to the communities that are most in need, Farm on Wheels will help reverse the trend of poor diet and its associated health risks. These trucks can providing the building blocks for a balanced diet that will be the foundation in transforming these food deserts to health havens.