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We are constructing a community and educational center for our beloved garden, Huerta del Valle, in Ontario, California
We are constructing a community and educational center for our beloved garden, Huerta del Valle, in Ontario, California
164 backers pledged $18,000 to help bring this project to life.

About

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educational space for flourishing community garden

$18,000

164

We did it!

Thanks to you we were able to reach our goal. Our story has been broadcasted on NPR, local TV, web publications, and many design blogs thanks to you. The UCSD Engineers without Borders team is hard at work to get this structure submitted by summer 2016. Meanwhile, we are also at work on the rest of the educational center. If you'd like to follow the project and communicate with us, please reach out! We're all in this together =)

Here's a couple ways we can all stay in touch. Like the facebook page for events and announcements. Check out beautiful moments at the garden via instagram. Feel free to sign up for our email updates to get notified whenever something interesting happens pertaining to the educational center (once a month or so, promise we won't bombard you).

You bolstered the project despite the analytics projecting the campaign not succeeding. Friends, friends of the garden, and very nice people we never met kept donating. For a week we were certain the project wasn't going to make it. Then a large donation came via Inland Empire Resource Conservation District after they saw the support the project was getting from individuals. This came from the community's networking and corrected our trajectory. It possible only due to the momentum we built together. Kickstarter featured the project, and here we are today.

Our deepest thanks to you.

Our Story:

We are a team of 3 architecture students who have worked for a year to make this project a reality and today we need the final push to materialize the desires and needs of a community.  

Why crowdsource architecture? 

Crowdsourcing building projects puts financial power back in the hands of the people. By focusing on one public space project at a time, communities can develop built public space with the help of other communities. With the internet and platforms like Kickstarter, public projects paid by people for communities in need become a feasible reality.

The Garden: 

The greater LA area is an industrial wasteland. Many low-income and middle class communities have to deal with air pollution and other environmental issues prevalent in sprawling suburban cities. One of these issues is the availability of locally grown, affordable and organic vegetables.

Huerta del Valle, an energetic community garden in Ontario, is already feeding 62 families by providing any person willing to maintain a garden with a 20ft by 10ft plot of land, for only 10 dollars a year. There is also a section of the 3-acre garden devoted to producing vegetables the community sells to near-by restaurants and farmers markets, paying for the operational costs of the garden. They have grown over 6000 lbs of produce in the last season alone. Before this, the site has been barren for as long as we can see, but in the past two years, the community garden has been developing rapidly.

In the next two years, Huerta del Valle is poised to expand the community garden to 124 families and grow an organic urban farm in the heart of a neighborhood in central Ontario. These efforts are in response to a wide range of social and environmental justice issues. Among these are pollution, with CalEnviroscreen finding the area in which the garden is located to be one of the most toxic in California. Poor nutrition has been linked to 4 out of 10 causes of death for Ontario residents. 67% of Ontario adults are overweight or obese and so are 40% of Ontario's fifth, seventh, and ninth graders.

The community has committed to a series of goals in response. We envision one garden every mile in our city. We envision a city where all people can eat delicious, nutritious, fresh, local, and sustainably produced food. We want to nurture research by Ontario youth and adults about environmental detriments and their solutions. The community is already working towards making the garden a space for analysis and having the capacity for action.

To aid the development of the garden and the strengthening of the community, an educational and communal center is in the process of being developed. Each structure is aimed at exhibiting a different sustainable building strategy.

The amphitheater is the central space in the garden which will be used for community meetings and events. The amphitheater is a structure made out of stabilized soil retained using recycled car tires. The amphitheater has already been submitted to the city and we are awaiting the construction permit. 

The earth excavated in the construction of the amphitheater is going to be used to create the rammed earth walls of the kids' library/classroom. 

There is already a literacy program in place called the Abejas Literacy program, and the kids do not have their own space and learn outdoors. Once built, the library will be a place which they will call their own. 

There is a shade structure geared at providing storage for equipment used at the garden. Atop the roof of the shade structure will be a well-sized solar array which will both provide for the electrical needs of the garden while putting surplus electricity produced back into the grid, offsetting some of the peak load of LA's air-conditioning during the day. This structure has already been designed, engineered and submitted to the city. This has all been done proudly at our own expense.

The Project:

Lastly, the building for which this Kickstarter has been started is the kitchen/playhouse structure. The structure is built using the steel of two shipping containers, recycling them. There is a huge surplus of containers on the west coast due to largely one-way trade with China. This structure generates more than twice the area of two shipping containers by utilizing rotating shading panels-- these shield the structure from heavy rains while creating plenty of cool and ventilated space both for cooking and processing vegetables and providing a playhouse for kids. 

This is a structure which is meant to be very flexible and transportable. This structure can be loaded onto a truck, transported and easily assembled in hours for outreach events. Once built, this structure can become a template for like structures for other community gardens. With the one-time cost of the engineering paid for, and with the architectural drawings made available for free, the structure becomes deployable rapidly and at minimal cost for any community garden in need of a like space.

Your contribution goes straight to paying for the engineering and construction cost of this structure. The architectural drawings are made by our team and at our own cost. At this point in the project however, we need your help to make this community space a reality. 

Together, we will advance crowdfunded architecture and set a precedent for sustainable design and alternative building materials in the greater LA area, both raising awareness and paving the path for future projects like this. 

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 Cost breakdown: 

  • -Structural and mechanical engineering for the kitchen+clubhouse is donated by Fariborz M Tehrani (Ph.D., PE, CSU Fresno) and the Engineers Without Borders chapter of UCSD. It is already in process - $0
  • -Geotechnical Report - $1000
  • -Structural engineering of the library through Brad Mimlitz and Rammed Earth Wall Builders (he is giving us a heavily discounted price) - $1000
  • -Two shipping containers - $3,000 
  • -Crane and transportation for shipping containers (Allied Crane): - $1,000
  • -Cost of steel for moment frame (with welding): $2,000
  • -Concrete foundation footings: $500
  • -On-site welding inspection: $700
  • -Cost of cable systems for the rotating panels: $1000
  • -Quality detailing (floor, paint, curtains, rails, light fixtures, plumbing, and other hardware): $2000
  • -Kitchen and furniture: $2500 
  • -Kickstarter rewards and kickstarter's fee (8%): $2500 

All unused funds will go straight to the engineering and construction of the library! 

Get in touch with Huerta to receive updates!

Hana Lemseffer 

Necils Lopez 

Kirill Volchinskiy

Cal Poly Pomona

Special Thanks to the Engineers Without Borders team of UCSD (Ashwin Kannan, Ali Ismail, Jackie First) and Fariborz Tehrani for your support with the engineering and pro-bono work.

Thanks to Roger Ziegler and Nabil Taha from Precision Structural (http://structure1.com) for engineering the shade structure.

Thanks to Brad Mimlitz of Earth Wall Builders LLC (http://www.earthwallbuilders.com/) for your time and support with the library.

Thanks to James Golub of United Earth Builders (http://www.unitedearthbuilders.com/) for your help with the library.

Thanks to Tom Evans for your architectural work.

Thanks to Karen Thompson and Scott Murphy from Ontario's planning department for your continual support of this project.

Thanks to Cordie Qualle from Blair, Church & Flynn engineering (http://www.bcf-engr.com/) for work on the grading plan.

Thanks to Mohammad Shaikhsaheb (PE) for help on the electrical plan for the solar system.

Thanks to Russ Gulke (PE,PLS) and Rich Josenhans (PLS) from WestLAND group (http://westlandgroup.net/) for the topographical survey.

Thanks to Susan Phillips from Irvine’s Community and Economic Development Legal Clinic (CED) for being the legal aid (http://www.law.uci.edu/academics/real-life-learning/clinics/ced.html).

Special thanks to Maria Alonso (director of Huerta del Valle), Arthur Levine (Huerta del Valle Technical Support), and Marcela Jones (Abejas Literacy Program).

Risks and challenges

We have a lot of momentum and we are well-connected with design professionals, engineers and builders working in the field. We just need this final push to move the project from design into reality.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    A special acknowledgement on our website and eternal gratitude!

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    A special acknowledgement on our website + a personal thank you card signed by the team.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Your name on the "Wall of Contributors" in the interior of the building + a personal thank you card signed by the team.

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    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    Your name on the "Wall of Contributors" in the interior of the building + a personal thank you card signed by the team + 1 signed print of a drawing of choice.

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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    Your name on the "Wall of Contributors" in the interior of the building + a sweet box of organic, dried herbs from the garden.

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    Your name on the "Wall of Contributors" in the interior of the building + 1 signed print of a drawing of choice + a Huerta del Valle t-shirt.

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    Your name on the "Wall of Contributors" in the interior of the building + large print of a drawing of your choice + a Huerta del Valle shirt +a sweet box of organic, dried herbs from the garden.

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    All the above + a personal letter of gratitude + a copy of the construction document set + a hand-knit beanie made by Hana from the design team + personal tour of the garden and dinner if you can make it to the area!

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Funding period

- (30 days)