Fruition is a proposed after-school culinary program for children between 6th and 12th grades. Its infrastructure includes an open plan kitchen, interior and exterior dining areas, greenhouse, year-round urban farm and community restaurant. This proposed project is a playful solution to help end the cycle of homelessness for the working poor in New York City. Research in Manhattan’s soup kitchens pointed to food and meals as opportunities for engagement and empowerment; the element of choice -- to choose the food on one’s dinner plate, the place that one wants to sit, with whom one wants to eat -- these elements provide an intangible form of relief that beds and even rooms for shelter often cannot. Through cuisine, middle school and high school children have the opportunity to learn career skills and receive career mentorship on a daily basis, preparing them for jobs in the culinary field and providing them with a way out of the cycle of poverty. At the same time, parents have the opportunity to work full-time, giving them the opportunity to end the cycle for themselves and their children, while simultaneously promoting the growth of an entire community. At Fruition, crops are harvested in the backyard urban farm and year-round greenhouse, and the fruit trees out front provide a snack for any hungry passerby, teaching an entire neighborhood the importance of nutritious and communal living. Fruition is a place like home, for those in the program and those surrounding it, where all can enjoy time together over a fresh, home-cooked meal. Here, fresh crops grow into dinners, which then grow into family gatherings. It is a place for a community to grow and thrive, an opportunity for it to come to its own fruition.
Proposed location: East Harlem, New York City
Featured in Interior Design Magazine (Issue No. 6, 2015)
Featured in The New Yorker (May 2015)