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Repurposing Abandoned Schools Project Winner: A Farm to Table Urban Food Center

Caroline Hadilaksono turns an abandoned school into an "all-in-one ecosystem" where people can grow, distribute, and enjoy good food. See her design.

With so many schools closing their doors due to budget cuts and declining enrollment, we asked GOOD readers to imagine a way to repurpose an abandoned school building so that the space once again serves the needs of its community. We're thrilled to announce that our winner is the "Farm to Table Urban Food Center" designed by "illustrator, designer, thinker, writer, and story-teller" Caroline Hadilaksono.

Hadilaksono tells us that since learning about how the food industry really works she's been feeling that, beyond reading labels and shopping for organic, natural products, there's not much "an average person like me can do to make a real, lasting, and pragmatic impact on the food crisis we're facing." As a solution, her urban food center idea creates "an all-in-one ecosystem for food, where members of a community would be able to grow, prepare, distribute, and consume food, all in one place."

The practical and innovative design is modeled on of the floor plan of her neighborhood school, Wilton Place Elementary School in Los Angeles. It includes an outdoor urban farm; forward-thinking indoor hydroponic farms and vertical gardens; a for-profit cafe, farmer's market, and produce store; and a nonprofit kitchen for feeding the homeless community. And, since the public does indeed need education about food, existing classroom space is used to hold cooking, nutrition, and agriculture classes. The design is so comprehensive and inspiring, after looking at it, you'll be asking yourself, how can we really make this happen in an abandoned school?

For her efforts, Hadilaksono will receive a GOOD T-shirt and a gift subscription. Thanks to everyone who entered, and congratulations again to our winner!

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