You can farm your own tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries or cantelope even if you live in a cramped apartment and have no access to dirt or a tiny patch of lawn along the freeway just outside your window. The current official population estimate as of 2010 was 6,800,000,000 (boy, my hand was getting tired of pushing the zero key). That is almost 7 billion people. One-third of us live in cities and urban areas. Food, as you can probably guess, is very big business and is doing a lousy job at keeping people fed and/or healthy. Let’s not even talk about the obesity problems in America. With food deserts and other urban issues, people are not eating vegetables!!!
Britta Riley, an urban dweller in Brooklyn, has decided that she was no longer going to hand over the responsibility of taking care of the environment and access to healthy food to specialists and corporate interests. She thinks that they are pretty much the cause of the mess we now see with our current food system. Thus was born the Windowfarm!
The Windowfarm is a hydroponic growing system. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants with a high-quality liquid soil that is fed to a plants root system. There is no dirt which makes it a great system for creating a Windowfarm in your apartment where you can control the climate and provide natural light. Plus, no vacuuming.
OPEN SOURCE FARMING – Let’s All Do It
What I think is especially amazing about the Windowfarm is that its not just a product that makes money for those who sell it, it is also an environmental and food movement that invites people from all over the world to participate in improving its design and efficiency. Through social media, the creators of Windowfarm have published well researched instructions of how to build one of their systems so that anyone anywhere can build a Windowfarm system for free. Windowfarm.org asks that people who have built their own system post their customized versions on their site in order to benefit the specific concerns of those who build their own.
HOW THE WINDOW FARM WORKS
There is a pump at the bottom of the Windowfarm system that periodically sends a liquid nutrient up to the top. The nutrient then trickles down through the plants’ root system that are suspended in clay pellets. No dirt. No mess. But, you do, as the farmer, have to decide what crops you are going to put in your Windowfarm.
BUY THE FARM or build your own for free
One-Column Windowfarms cost $119.95, but if you buy it on Kickstarter, you will get it for just $99 (plus shipping and handling). Or, if you’ve got some empty water and milk bottles you don’t mind cutting into, you can make your own for free. All of the “build-your-own” designs are available on the Windowfarms site for free.
BRITTA RILEY ON TEDTALKS
Check out Britta talking about the Windowfarm movement on TedTalks.