By James Coffey
If you’re one of those people sadly resigned to the idea that apartment living means window boxes and flower pots to express your blossoming green thumb, then you’re really going to love this.
Window farming, conceived by American artists Britta Riley and Rebecca Bay of New York’s Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, utilizes vertical hydroponic drip systems constructed from recycled plastic bottles and other materials so that people can grow their own herbs and vegetables year-round in any climate—without access to even one square foot of real dirt.
Energy efficient, eco-friendly and space maximizing—and more than a little reminiscent of Bohemian ingenuity of the 1960s—window farming is a highly effective indoor gardening technology. It’s popularity is evident from the growing number of growing gardens suspended in apartment windows like shimmering, avant garde photosynthesizing curtains.
Although hydroponic plant-growing technology has been around for several decades now, the simplicity of stringing together inverted plastic water bottles that serve as really cool-looking planters utilizing a fish tank pump to automatically feed the interconnected plants with nutrient-rich water has caught on like no other gardening trend of recent decades.
While the initial aim of the 2009 Riley/Bay Eyebeam project was to prove that New Yorkers could develop their own systems for growing food in tiny apartments, it’s evolving into a global initiative to spread the word about window farming and how it can provide a highly cost-effective (1 pump @ 3 watts = $1.58 per year in the U.S.) food-production option for the impoverished people of the planet.
In addition to the 13,000 strong WindowFarms community, numerous window farming blogs suggest improvements to the original hydroponic design, open individual bottle-farming issues to community discussion, and offer starter kits for the techno-challenged.
For once it’s good to be “on the bottle.”
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