Center for Active Design Excellence Award
Capital Roots is a private nonprofit community service organization that has been helping residents of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties improve their neighborhoods through community gardening, healthy food access and urban greening programs for nearly 40 years. Their mission is: To nourish healthy communities by providing access to fresh food and green spaces for all.
For a dozen years Capital Roots has envisioned creating a place where people could experience the power of local agriculture and see it harnessed for the social, economic and physical benefit of the entire region.
The Urban Grow Center is the product of that vision. A place where local food can be grown, distributed, cooked and enjoyed, education is hands-on, lifelong and community-based and local food and sustainable technology are pragmatically applied, made available for use in everyday life and serve the unique needs of our region.
Development of the Urban Grow Center will proceed in phases, making full use of a group of properties around 594 River Street in Troy, NY. An emphasis on green technologies in the construction and operation of the Center reflect Capital Roots’ commitment to pursuing cost effective and sustainable solutions, while contributing to their environmental and educational mission. The Grow Center’s green features will include signage explaining their purpose, applicability to different situations and monetary/environmental value.
Major features of Phase I include:
• A food hub supplying the region’s cities with the products of local farms
• A rehabbed green building prominently displaying alternate power generation and conservation, as well as techniques to reduce storm water runoff
• A fresh produce market providing the neighborhood with year-round access to healthy food
• Innovative use of information technology forging stronger connections between farms and institutions
Phase II will include:
• New green buildings applying solar and wind energy, hydroponic and aquaponic growing techniques, advanced lighting and runoff reduction
• A community kitchen for whole family nutrition education and incubating food businesses based on local food
• Expanded year-round agriculture programming for at-risk youth and adults, using a quarter acre of greenhouses in cooperation with regional partners
Photographed by Liz Lajeunesse Photography