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Up-close angle of vibrant, green leafy vegetables, with white vines outline the interior frame of the vegetable.

Edible Planter Box Competition

Bringing Dual Purpose Gardens to Marginalized Communities.

In a city suffering from both food deserts and urban flooding, The Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans in partnership with Anova and Green Theory want to support urban resilience using innovative design. Our idea is simple, encourage design and innovation in a city desperate for solutions, by creating a fun and easy to install planter box that can house fresh produce.

Group of men and women, in a backyard by a bright, blue house with a red door, building a blue, metal edible planter box from as part of last year’s Water Collaborative of New Orleans green design competition.

Top Designs

1st Place

Estephania Barajas
Planter Ludo

Planter Ludo is a self-watering planter, focused to meet the height and accessibility of the most vulnerable: children, the elderly, and the disabled. Using the same trapezoid shape, planter Ludo encourages the essence of play and allows for a system that is simple, modular, and flexible. The goal and the ambition was to make a planter that can create more interesting and fun spaces; a planter that can grab a child's attention while simultaneously informing and explain its own operational components - an intersection of education and play.

Sketch and model of Estephania Barajas winning Water Collaborative of New Orleans Edible Planter Box designs. Diagrammed in her model are trapezoid-shaped, metal planter boxes with distinct levels making up the interior of the planter box. The bottom level shows the blue, flowing water being stored near the ground and the green leafy plant resting on the top level exposed to sunlight.
Woman wearing a black, turtleneck tank-top, while standing in front of a leafy brush wall, Estephania Barajas, winner of the Water Collaborative of New Orleans Edible Planter Box green design competition.

2nd Place

Lesley Conroy, Washington D. C.
Conroy Landscape Architecture

Food insecurity and flooding are issues that will only be solved if the opportunities to address them are widely implemented. This planter system is revolutionary because it can be executed successfully, distributed easily, is accessible to many users, and brings joy. The design limits barriers to implementation, with dimensions that could be shipped more easily, maneuvered without equipment, and accessed from all sides. Lower production costs and quick set-up make these more likely to be used and will more quickly address these two issues.

Mock up of planter boxes: Pink, green, and yellow with plants in them
Woman wearing a black, button-down shirt, while resting her left arm on a wooden bench back at a park in front of a grassy field. Pictured, Leslie Conroy, runner-up to the Water Collaborative of New Orleans Edible Planter Box green design competition.

3rd Place

Zoe Roane-Hopkins,
Silver Spring Maryland

Like a good gumbo, this planter feeds your body and soul. As intense weather patterns and food insecurity batter our cities, Gumbo Box rises to meet new climate challenges by increasing accessibility to home-grown food, encouraging community connections, and reducing runoff by capturing rainwater. During heavy rain events water is stored in a double reservoir system preventing flooding in the planting bed. Long periods of drought are combated with capillary watering tubes. This sub-irrigation minimizes wasted water evaporating from the surface.

Mock up of planter box: Hand drawn human figures attend to plants inside
Young woman wearing a green plaid flannel shirt smiled in front of a yellow backdrop. Zoe Roane- Hopkins, third place winner of the Water Collaborative of New Orleans Edible Planter Box green design competition.

Check out the other designs from the competition!

Group of men and women smiling while holding massive fertilizers bags and baby plants in incubators, as they sit on the dirt ground of a garden in front of a light-blue house.
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