Growing Connections: Designer Frederico Phillips

Apart from cultivating delicious foods and discovering the secrets of gardening, an integral appeal of participating in the Beach 91st Street Community Garden is the sense of community it fosters. Over the years, from my initial membership to assuming a leadership role, the garden has provided me with a unique avenue to connect with individuals in Rockaway whom I might never have crossed paths with otherwise. Our group is a sea of cultures and age ranges, yet we find ourselves united by our shared love for the soil.

Fred monitoring his lettuce sprouts.

I met Fredrico Phillips about three years ago. Trotting down Beach 91, all smiles and shirtless. When he learned I was the manager of the community garden, Fred expressed his interest in joining but said he had little experience. “No problem!” Part of the garden’s mission is to educate our neighbors about the benefits of growing organic foods, and how-to and to demonstrate eco-sustainable practices through action.

This year after being on the waiting list, Fred received a plot! Not only has he begun an early season with a variety of lettuces, but he’s also an active member at our meetings and has volunteered to help with a very special project I’d like to share about.

The garden site map serves as a comprehensive guide, showcasing everything the garden has to offer and aiding members in locating various features. With significant infrastructure changes over the past two years, including the addition of two new common space planting beds, a pergola, and a communal herb bed, it was time for an update. I reached out to members for design assistance in recreating the map for the 2024 season and Fred eagerly volunteered to lend his talents!

Frederico, originally from Algarve, Portugal, has lived in NYC far and wide before settling in Rockaway in September 2021. “I came for the ocean but the sense of being in a community of friendly, like-minded people is something that makes me feel closer to home. There’s nature, surf, active people, gardening, airplanes, cats and dogs… I mean it kinda has it all.”  The opportunity to learn about gardening and to be more self-sustainable is why Fred was eager to join the B91 Garden. He said, “It’s like learning life skills, hopefully, I will be growing food for a long time and this is the beginning.” Fred enjoys eating Zucchini because the word sounds cool. Also, he feels it’s an easy veggie to cook fried, grilled and it can be tossed into any and every dish.

Frederico Phillips is a 3D rendering artist with over 14 years in this specialized industry. His work is tailored for the advertising and branding sphere. With a focus on event and architecture visualization, Frederico’s skills breathe life into concepts through stunning visual representations. His mastery extends to 3D food & beverage modeling, as well as product rendering, ensuring every detail is meticulously crafted to captivate audiences and elevate brands. So when you see a box of Rice Krispie Treats in Key Food this weekend, know that your neighbor Fred illustrated those scrumptious delights!

Rice Krispie Treats illustration designed by Frederico Phillips.

Through our collaboration on the site map, I learned about Fred’s process, the tools he uses, and how I can apply what I learned from him to my 2D graphic work. Primarily Fred illustrates in 3D Max and uses Adobe Creative Suite. In the past few years, he’s been experimenting with AI platforms. Fred taught me the basics of this wild new technology! I learned about and which assist in insanely detailed effects. I’ve been using Midjourney, the AI App that generates images from text prompts from us humans, to create our visual intentions.

The finished 3D design of the B91 Garden site map is just incredible. I never imagined it to be so detailed, accurate, and beautiful. It truly evokes the spirit of the garden and so on behalf of the Beach 91st Community Garden, I’d like to say, thank you Fred for your outstanding work!


Site Map Designed by Fredrico Phillips. I asked Fred if he could illustrate our garden cats, “Yes, of course!


tagged in b91, garden, gardening