Carrot City Designing for Urban Agriculture

Carrot City Research Group

The Carrot City Research Group is a core team of professionals specializing in Design for Urban Agriculture and related issues. This team has been responsible for the curation and editing of Carrot City content in the many places and forms that it has been presented.

For general inquires about Carrot City, please contact us at

+ About Leila

Leila Marie Farah is a registered architect in France and an Assistant Professor at Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science. She holds a professional degree in Architecture from l'Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture Paris-Malaquais, a M.Arch and a PhD from McGill University where she played a key role in developing and coordinating the Edible Campus which received the 2008 National Urban Design Award. In 2009, she co-edited as a guest a special issue of Open House International titled "Designing Edible Landscapes." Her research focuses on integrated design, ecological design and inclusive and healthy cities. Recognition of her work includes a McGill Engineering Doctoral Award, a Canadian Centre for Architecture Collection Research Grant, a Jonathan King Medal and a Sauvé Fellowship.

+ About Mark

Mark Gorgolewski is a Professor in the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University in Toronto. He has worked for many years as an architect, researcher and sustainable building consultant in Canada and the UK. He has been a director of the Canada Green Building Council and chair of the Association for Environment Conscious Building and is a LEED accredited professional. Dr Gorgolewski has written many papers and books on the subject of sustainable built environments. Currently his areas of research include building performance, reuse of components and materials in buildings, and design for urban agriculture. Mark has participated in various sustainable building projects, including a winning design for the CMHC Equilibrium (net zero energy) Housing Competition and is also co-recipient of the 2007-2008 ACSA/AIA Housing Design Education Award and recipient of the 2012 H.A. Krentz Research Award from the CISC.

+ About Mike

Mike Hardman is Lecturer in Geography at the University of Salford, UK. He is the co-author of ‘Informal Urban Agriculture: The Secret Lives of Guerrilla Gardeners’, the first book in the Springer international urban agricultural series. Mike’s research is interdisciplinary which crosses planning, ecology, geography, sociology and other disciplinary boundaries: he has several book chapters, a variety of journal articles and has spoken at major international events on urban agriculture. Alongside Professor Peter Larkham, Mike organised the 2012 Carrot City exhibition in Birmingham, UK.

+ About Sarah

Sarah Ives is a designer and researcher based in Toronto. She was involved in the 2014 The Stop’s Night Market where she played a role as designer and co-manager for the construction of Garnish, receiving the Best in Show award. Sarah has recently completed an undergraduate degree in Architectural Science at Ryerson University and is now working at an Architectural design firm in Toronto. Sarah has been a research assistant for the Carrot City initiative since 2014.

+ About June

June Komisar, an architect and an associate professor in the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University, lectures and publishes widely on the topic of designing for urban agriculture and is a member of the Toronto Food Policy Council.

+ About Carolin

Carolin Mees lives and works as an architect and researcher based in New York City. She has worked as a Research Associate at the Institute of Social Sciences in Agriculture, Department of Gender and Nutrition, University Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany and as an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Architecture and Landscape, Graz Technical University, Austria. Her PhD thesis focused on community gardens in New York City and she has been widely published internationally on subjects such as architecture, community gardening and urban agriculture.

She has been the architectural and research consultant to the community garden program GreenThumb of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation from 2007 until 2014. In this position she has been responsible for the participative design of the self-buildable, open source plans for the garden shelter, the “Gardenhaus”. As well she has coordinated the participative design of new community gardens. These programs serve the dual goal to prevent and control obesity and to support urban gardeners and farmers in New York City.

Currently she conducts community garden and urban agriculture tours and is involved in the design of shade, rainwater harvesting and farming structures. She has contributed to the Carrot City travelling exhibit since 2010 and is the co-curator of the German partner exhibit, Die Produktive Stadt.

+ About Joe

Joe Nasr is an independent scholar, lecturer and consultant based in Toronto, with a doctorate in urban and regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania. He coordinated the programming committee for the Urban Agriculture Summit ( in August 2012 in Toronto.  He was awarded several postdoctoral fellowships, most recently as a Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow in sustainable food systems at The New School for Liberal Arts. Joe has taught at a number of universities in several countries. He teaches regularly online courses on urban food security and urban agriculture through Ryerson University, where he is an Associate at the Centre for Studies in Food Security. He coordinated a training course on urban agriculture in the Middle East and North Africa.  He is co-author or co-editor of four books (including the seminal Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs and Sustainable and author of dozens of articles.  He is co-editor of a new Urban Agriculture book series at Springer (

+ About Nicholas

Nicholas Potovszky is a Toronto based designer, writer, photographer and researcher. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from Ryerson University in Toronto and a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture and Architectural Engineering from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Budapest, Hungary. From 2011 to 2014 he was the lead research and administrative assistant to the Carrot City Initiative.

+ About Vera

Vera Straka is an Associate Professor at Ryerson University, Department of Architectural Science where she has been since 1991. She is a registered Professional Engineer, LEED AP and MIStructE (a specialized structural engineer). She received her BSc from Imperial College, London and Master’s degree from the University of Toronto. She teaches in the area of building science, including structures, materials, integration studio, building performance and sustainable design at undergraduate and graduate levels; organized many charrettes and extracurricular activities for students. Her research interests are in the following areas: building performance, resource efficiency and sustainable design.