Gallery: Big Box Agriculture Transforms Grocers Into Growers

big box farm, suburban garden, suburban farm, big box retailer, redevelopment, reburbia, reburbia design competition, forrest fulton

Results are in for the ReBurbia competition to re-envision the suburbs, and we’re thrilled to count Forrest Fulton among the top three winners for his Big Box Agriculture proposal! This creative and adaptive design takes advantage of empty big-box retail stores and turns them into suburban organic farms, complete with in-house chefs, restaurants, and renewable energy generation.

The very fabric of suburbia is changing as new areas develop and older areas are vacated, leaving behind empty buildings and cracking asphalt parking lots. This needn’t be the case – according to Fulton, big-box retail stores and strip malls can provide the opportunity for new growth in the form of suburban gardens and farms. Instead of just tearing everything down he proposes transforming these sites into organic farms and cutting out the middle-man retailer. Consumers can walk among the rows of produce and pick their fruit and vegetables right from the vine.

The asphalt parking lot would become an outdoor farm by layering soil and compost inside of containers placed directly on the lot, while solar trees spread throughout the fields generate power and pump it back into the grid. The roof of the big box store would partially be replaced with glass to create a greenhouse. After picking your produce, you could take it directly to an in-house chef who would prepare you a meal, or take it home with you. Imagine the gains the local food movement would face if Wal-Mart took a look at this idea and retrofitted their stores!

Big Box Agriculture‘s innovative approach towards local food production netted it third place in the ReBurbia competition – be sure to check out the other winning designs selected by our judges in addition to the top 20 finalists and our favorite notable mentions.

+ Big Box Agriculture

+ ReBurbia


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  1. Build A Better Burb Win... October 5, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    […] and residential seemed to be a common theme, and there were many projects that incorporated agriculture more fully into the fabric of the […]

  2. LarryMars August 21, 2009 at 10:57 am

    A good quality compost is light and fertile and, it is itself a waste product. I have always thought that a grocery store could have a large vegetable garden on the roof and grow a substantial quantity of fresh produce organically. Lots of sun up there. I guess the roof would need to be better supported.

  3. davidwayneosedach August 20, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    This idea is intriguing. But it will take a lot of work containing and carrying for the soil that is placed on top of the ashphalt lots. I will be very interested when it is tried somewhere!

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