SILO NYC highlights urban farming through a cooperative residential community in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan. It re-envisions the essential food supply systems that once existed there and introduces wastewater and organic waste treatment systems to create a closed loop system, using waste as a resource. The project intends to increase awareness of a waste-free lifestyle, as well as making available more healthy and sustainable alternatives of food to people in the city.
Every year, 3.9 million tons of wasted food end up in landfills, where it slowly decays and is a major contributor to methane gas production, while 12.8% of New Yorkers are food insecure. Supermarkets, restaurants, colleges, and hospitals are some of the largest generators of food waste.
The design features closed loop system where food is grown on site, or sourced locally and transported by water, to be used for cooking and selling. There would be a direct trade relationship to decrease waste and processing. There would be a restaurant and food market that would only use seasonal produce, food fermentation, and nose-to-tail whole animal processes. Grain could be milled on site, and butter churned. There would also be a brewery, which produces drinks using the carbon dioxide from anaerobic digesting. All organic waste would be composted in an anaerobic digester and put back into the growing cycle. The site would also include a market for selling food produced on site, and make available dry goods with zero packaging.
On site would include a housing co-op, a community that encourages and supports each other towards the goal of living a zero-waste lifestyle. It would create a community for elder immigrants that may have been farmers in the past, who now have no jobs, and enjoy gardening and would like company, mixed with younger adults who are willing to learn, such as college students. Each units would be responsible for growing fruits and vegetables, with a greenhouse attached, and the community will pool resources when harvested to share. By living with and growing food and composting, one would be more appreciative of nature and the food cycle. This would also be a symbiotic relationship in which humans produce carbon dioxide that they need to grow, and in return they produce oxygen and food for us.