Andrea Starr '06/BARCH
Fertile Underground

Providence, RI

Andrea grew up in rural New Hampshire and attended RISD, where she was a member of the RISD 2005 Solar Decathlon Team and earned a Bachelor of Architecture. She was a member, maintenance co-ordinator, and spokesperson for the Brown Association of Co-operative Housing for 4 years, where she learned (and taught) a lot about the relationship between urban dwelling, environmental stewardship, communal living, inclusiveness, and food.

After graduation, she returned to NH for a couple of years to work for Mehren Freeman Architects, where she received invaluable training, mentorship, and inspiration from principal architect Barbara Freeman. Projects often featured the site-specific, environmentally considerate kinds of design that Andrea hopes to make the hallmark of her career, including a passive-solar community center for the Women's Trust is Pokuase, Ghana.

In 2008, Andrea left the backwoods of NH to travel and hiked 1000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in Southern California. When she returned to the East Coast, her love of Providence called her back to Rhode Island, and she stayed -- but backcountry habits die hard. Growing veggies every summer with friends back home had become a fun tradition that she wanted to share with friends in the city, and in these uncertain times it felt like a necessity. There was a group of like-minded, creative people that coalesced around the idea to transform neglected urban space into productive, beautiful food gardens, and together they founded the Fertile Underground in 2009.

Since then Andrea has continued to be an active member of the urban agriculture movement in Providence. She currently works for Hill Orchards as a farm hand. She is also a freelance architectural draftsperson and modelmaker.

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