Springfield Seed Library: Cultivating Ideas for a Healthier City
The Springfield Seed Library is a project that catalyzes conversations and actions aimed at creating a healthier Springfield, MA. At the center of the project is a retrofitted library card catalog that serves as a participatory platform, a community archive and an advocacy tool for local health education, seed saving, community gardening, food justice and access to healthy foods. The card catalog will serve as a multi-functional object, a community platform where people can access information, ask questions, form coalitions, publicize events and self-organize.
Through interactive programming, the project will become a visual and social catalyst for discussing, highlighting and disseminating information about healthy community-based practices. Collectively managed by several Springfield organizations, each of the 15 drawers of the card catalog will become a repository for health education and food initiatives throughout the city.
Visual documentation, “how-to” pamphlets, surveys, informational brochures and creative advocacy tools will be stored within the cabinet and will allow Springfield residents to engage in a two-way participatory process to contribute to, as well as learn more about, the many efforts to reduce health disparities throughout the city. The Springfield Seed Library creates a place where community-contributed ideas meet best practices in health education and food system change to plant the “seeds” of transformation to grow a healthier and more sustainable city.
Joseph Krupczynski is an associate professor in the Architecture + Design Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a practicing architectural designer, artist and educator. Through research, public and private art/design commissions, installations, activism and teaching, his work promotes creative community partnerships, links social and aesthetic territories and explores the spatial, social and cultural contexts of real and imagined communities. Professor Krupczynski is also a founding director of The Center for Design Engagement (C*DE), a 501(c)(3) design outreach center affiliated with the UMass Architecture + Design Program whose mission is to support critically engaged research and reflective practices in architecture, art and digital media for communities and community-based organizations in Massachusetts and beyond (www.designengagement.org).
Recent projects include: Envision Depot Square (2012), a series of events and facilitated conversations regarding the return of passenger rail to Holyoke, MA; How Can We (2011-12), an event-based public art strategy for a series of community events and “pop-up” projects for a community-based organization (ADP) in Springfield, MA (www.howcanwe.org); Movable Feast (2010), a public art project that used a retro-fitted food truck to promote food system change in Western Massachusetts (www.movablefeastproject.org); the exhibition and graphic design for Greening The Valley: Sustainable Architecture in the Pioneer Valley (2010), an exhibition at the University Gallery at UMass Amherst; and Exchange/Value (2009), the design of an installation in collaboration with photographer Wendy Ewald and social activist/artist Rick Lowe that explores community-based economies in Amherst, MA.
He was awarded the UMass Amherst Distinguished Outreach Teaching Award in 2011 and in 2007 the Faculty Making a Difference in the Community Award by The Five College Committee for Community-Based Learning. He received the College Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of the Humanities and Fine Arts at UMass Amherst in 2006 and was awarded an Historic Northampton Recognition Award by the Northampton Historic Commission in 2003.
Doris Madsen, artist and librarian, works in the library branches of the Springfield City Library system in Springfield, MA. She has an undergraduate degree with a concentration in studio art from Smith College and a masters in library science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. An artist member of Zea Mays Printmaking, a non-toxic printmaking studio in Northampton, MA, Doris is also a coordinating committee member of Easthampton City Arts +, a local arts organization.