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Computer server farm, urban food center at Mill No. 5?

The public is invited to attend a three-part discussion series taking a fresh look at Bates Mill No. 5 as a potential premier economic generator of Lewiston and Auburn and cornerstone of the recently completed Lewiston Riverfront Island Master Plan.

The series takes will be held Thursdays at 6 p.m., beginning tonight, May 3 at Kimball Street Studios, 198 Lisbon St., Lewiston. Concurrently on display is an exhibit of Bates Mill No. 5’s original pen-and-ink architectural construction drawings on linen, 100 years after they were drawn.

Part 1, titled “What’s love got to do with it?” will be held Thursday, May 3. James Mangrum will discuss using the mill as a computer server farm that reclaims enough process energy to keep upper-level indoor gardens thriving throughout cold Maine winters.

Of all the mills along the Androscoggin River, it was Bates Mill No. 5 that grabbed the attention of James Mangrum of Providence, R.I. As an architecture student in Illinois, he developed his 2009 thesis project on a reactivation of Bates Mill No. 5, once the largest single manufacturing building in the northeast, because of its uniqueness to support a new, sustainable business model.

This pioneering business model marries ideas of technology, urban farming, economic and community sustainability to reactivate Bates Mill No. 5 in its purest form. The design maintains a connection with the canals and does so without extensive reconfiguration. The iconic saw-tooth structure is ideally configured for a thriving indoor farming model and urban food center.

The L-A community is now experiencing a surge in urban farming, similar to the movements happening around the country as depicted in “Growing Cities”, a documentary film to be released later this year. The film examines the role of urban farming in America and pursues the power it can have to revitalize our cities and change the way we eat. Join this movement and bring food back into our control.

The L-A community is strategically positioned to connect leaders in the local food and farming movement to create a sustainable urban food hub in the downtown. The immigrant population that has established their farming practice locally, along with Good Food for Lewiston-Auburn, St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, Lots to Gardens, local farmers markets and others have been building the local food and agricultural economy for over a decade.

The groundwork is in place for a sustainable indoor farming model that would provide an urban food center and result in food security and greater local economic benefit. Many people across the two cities want cost effective, healthy, local food available. This model provides a bridge to connect food, culture, economy and sustainability in a holistic reuse of an existing structure. Bates Mill No. 5 and advances in technology bring this exciting potential to life.

The increasing importance of cloud-server technology in our society provides an added opportunity for the excess process heat to be captured and utilized to heat the building. The existence, size, location and orientation of Bates Mill No. 5 is ideal for establishing a community anchor for year round urban food center in the Lewiston-Auburn downtown.

Part 2 of the discussion series, titled, “Do icons grow on trees?”, will be held Thursday, May 10.

Part 3, titled “If a penny saved is a penny earned, then what is a whole building saved?”, will be Thursday, May 17.

For more information, contact Gabrielle Russell at 240-6403 or rumor2010@ymail.com.

 

 

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