In Buffalo, urban agriculture is transforming once residential, abandoned land into small farms to serve local groups. Yet while vacant land is abundant, its soil is often contaminated, leaving farmers to build planting beds above the ground level as a band aid solution. Historically farmers have used grow structures as a way to overcome poor soil conditions – an approach which could provide an alternate solution to the urban farmers problem.
While farming is a first step in repurposing vacant land, this singular activity can be supplemented to attract a broader audience to the area. ARTFARMS was conceived to specifically insert a cultural dimension into the ongoing reuse of vacant land. Its aim is to broaden the vacancy discussion from mitigating impact towards concepts that improve the area’s image to inspire and attract.
ARTFARMS invites recognized artists to design grow sculptures which become embedded into farmers fields. Made from chain link fencing, their ghost-like appearance highlights the neighborhood’s exodus of homes, people and activity. Used as growth structures for fruits, vegetables and flowers, these large scale planted sculptures will also attract visitors and attention. By transforming the area’s vacant properties into a new landscape of growing sculpture, ARTFARM invites a wider audience to witness the formation of a new perception for the area. This means more visitors to the farm produce stores, more positive impressions of the area’s future, more potential of attracting other small business development. The result is a synergy where the ongoing local works are enhanced by their coordination with a larger cultural perspective.