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28th Annual Canstruction New York exhibition goes virtual

Photo courtesy of NYC Canstruction Exhibit

BY CARSEN HOLADAY

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the number of New York City residents experiencing food insecurity is expected to expand by 44 percent. How could nine giant structures virtually built out of canned food items possibly address this issue?

Canstruction New York is hosting its unique design competition for the 28th year in a row as a virtual event. Top architects, engineers and students they mentor come together for one overnight virtual build of canstructures. The visualization must use the specifications of actual canned food items. The teams then raise the funds, via the City Harvest team donation page, to cover the cost of their virtual cans in their virtual build. City Harvest is New York City’s largest food rescue organization.

In order to appropriately adapt to the increasing need for food in New York City communities due to the ongoing pandemic, City Harvest is more than doubling the amount of food they plan to rescue and deliver this year to 144 million pounds. All donations go directly to City Harvest and are tax deductible.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, City Harvest has ramped up our operations significantly in order to meet the skyrocketing need for emergency food we are seeing across New York City,” said Jenna Harris, Senior Manager of Donor Relations and Supply Chain. “Even though we can’t gather together in person this year, we are thrilled to once again partner with Canstruction and work together to rescue more nutritious food for the growing number of New Yorkers who are struggling to make ends meet.”

Being unable to host Canstruction New York at Brookfield Place for its 13th year, Arts Brookfield supported Canstruction’s fundraising efforts during November in Brookfield Place’s Tuesday Trivia weekly online game, “Food for Thought ” discussion series and on social media.

“Arts Brookfield is proud to continue our commitment to Canstruction and City Harvest by incorporating them into our digital programming,” said Elysa Marden, Vice President, Arts Brookfield for Brookfield Properties. “We look forward to hosting Canstruction again at Brookfield Place once it is safe to do so.”

The jury for the design competition includes Ron Ben-Israel, Chef-Owner of Ron Ben-Israel Cakes; Suzanne Mecs, Hon. AIA NYS, Managing Director of the American Institute of Architects New York; and Melba Wilson, Chef-Owner of Melba’s Restaurant and Melba’s Catering. The jury will award the best in three categories: Best Original Design, Best Use of Labels and Best Meal. At their discretion, the jury may also award up to two Honorable Mention Awards. The People’s Choice Awards will be announced at the end of the exhibition on February 7.

Canstruction opened to the public on January 12 on their website and it will close on February 7 at 6 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to view the exhibition, donate to City Harvest and vote for their favorite structure to win the People’s Choice Award.

“Although we are unable to exhibit the gigantic structures for personal viewing this year due to COVID-19, we are offering a virtual exhibit to remind our neighbors of the need in our community,”  said Amy Nanni, CDFA, SDA New York Director and Canstruction New York Co-Chair. “When you visit, please consider donating to City Harvest through the Canstruction New York portal.”

For more information, visit Canstruction New York’s website.

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