THIRSTLAB WORKSHOP #3: Gowanus Drinks: A Workshop/Walking Tour of Thirsty Plants and Thirsty People
Saturday, April 5th, 4-7pm
Gowanus is a literal backwater, a tidal swamp that has been channeled and paved over by political, economic, and environmental forces since the first European colonists arrived. Tracing a meandering path through the region’s history–from its early agricultural roots, to the infamous Whisky Wars and Prohibition Era, to Superfund and today’s hydroponic farms, craft liquor distilleries and DIY brewery shops–this workshop culminates in a two hour walking tour that will investigate the dark and bright sides of the Gowanus. We’ll begin by exploring how water quality relates to agricultural methods and industrial processes, and how these issues may help account for the emergence of small-scale urban farming and alcohol production methods. We will bring together scientists, entrepreneurs, artists and DIY enthusiasts to exchange ideas about how pollution, disease, and economic crisis–as well as new industries, culture, and social life– are fed by the Gowanus canal. Does the proliferation of DIY activities and small-scale local businesses respond to people’s real needs for agency in their daily lives? How have these ventures factored into real estate speculation and quality of life in the area? Explore these questions first-hand through a walking, talking & tasting tour led by artist Jeremy Olson that will include stops at Gotham Greens Hydroponic Farm (located on the top of the neighborhood’s new Whole Foods store), Brooklyn Homebrew, and Breuckelen Distilling Company, the first gin distiller to open in Brooklyn since Prohibition. Put on your walking shoes and join us as we open our minds and wet our whistles.
Workshop Leaders: Jeremy Olson (Artist/Current Collective Member), Aaron Cooper (Artist/Current Collective Member), with Bhawani Venkataraman (Interdisciplinary Scientist, Eugene Lang College The New School), Cleo Woelfle-Erskine (Hydrologist & Co-Founder of Greywater Guerrillas) and July Cole (Poet and Co-editor, Dam Nation: Dispatches from the Water Underground), Viraj Puri (Co-Founder & CEO, Gotham Greens),Alex Wenner (Brooklyn Homebrew), Brad Estabrooke (Founder, Breuckelen Distilling Company)