Saturday, March 27, 2010

Vertical Farming, Livingry Systems: | Home

In situ solutions for local food. Paul Polak pointed me at this via Engineering for Change.

Open source design. I submitted a proposal yesterday for the Google Fiber project speaking about the reinvention of rural through open source manufacturing.

The windowfarms systems seem pretty low power; I'd be a tad careful about wall sockets myself (they have a warning about drip loops).

I got our KWH down by ~30-40% in peak months by pulling kit off the grid and improving insulation and criminally bad windows installed in the 1970s.  Even with the reduction in energy I'm warm in winter and eating well.

Really uncomfortable green technology will not be adopted by consumers other than the Deep Granola side of the conversation. Sustainable means there's a viable market that does not require ongoing subsidy.

Windows and Tomatoes and Herbs

Herb Booth. Jamie Oliver's Happy Days video has an herb booth roaring like a jungle. That'll be a tactic this fall. I've been playing with making pesto with dried basil and fresh garlic - not bad. But the idea of going over and plucking some fresh basil in January does appeal. He does a great quick pizza crust with just flour and water - I like it a lot and I can prep, mix, and have it out of the oven before I could even get to town for a (lesser) pie. If you're not familiar with Mr.Oliver, he's a socially responsible food rock star - helping teens stay out of trouble and into work see for more.  Really like his chops - a few ingredients, don't sweat it too much, and just do it. Friend the gentleman on FaceBook and read his recipes.

A mash up of Jamie Oliver from YouTube: Note the shed greenhouse at 0:19

Good Bugs and Good Eats

But fresh, even small scale, makes the winter days brighter.

Got started late this year and have only anemic prototypes of growing tomatoes, but have achieved proof of principle.

I use a rusted out metal bookcase in a south window. That works too. It's been a safe house for the many ladybugs that pop out during the warmer days here. They've been munching some kind of pests on the plants and it seems a fair deal. (Introducing exotic species generally a very poor idea. Finally starting to see native lady bugs again).

So the bookshelf's not really a bona fide prototype, but I bought a bunch of end of season seed geraniums for a dime on the dollar which faded, then came back and made me smile throughout the winter.

Even had success with some cherry tomatoes that I started in September. They're horribly abused but I have a few green ones now. Brandywines started at same time about a foot high, and wintered over not much the worse for wear. Nice early start for spring (if something doesn't eat 'em when transplanted from the pots).

Urban food, local food, good eats. We'll get there.

More urban farming at Will Allen's

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