THEORY OF CHANGE
As urban populations continue to grow at unsustainable rates the global community is faced with the colossal challenge of providing cities with enough fresh food. The Windowfarms Project strives to combat this issue through creative communitydriven innovation. NASA is researching how to hydroponically grow food in the most unlikely setting -outer space. The windowfarms project is researching how to hydroponically grow food in another unlikely setting -the urban apartment. A windowfarm is a vertical hydroponic systems made of recycled bottles and other common household materials. It is used indoors to grow herbs and vegetables yearround. The Windowfarms Project connects, assists, and recruits urban dwellers. We give away free instructions that help individuals build their own vertical hydroponic systems.Using these systems they may grow some of their own food inside their inner-city apartments. Then, these new windowfarmers contribute back to the project through testing, proposing, and sharing local innovations which improve the designs over time. In less than one year, more than 17,000 windowfarmers around the world have come together to try and solve one of the critical challenges facing the health of our bodies, our social infrastructures, and our Planet.
THEORY OF CHANGE It’s a daily miracle that enough food is grown, packaged, transported, and distributed to potentially feed more than 3 billion people in cities worldwide. However this massive “industrial food complex” has ravaged the natural landscape of the countryside and compromised the nutritional needs and food security of almost every community, urban and rural.Let’s figure out how to help cities feed themselves while improving the American diet.
Together, we Windowfarmers are testing techniques, sharing results, and improving the systems to grow food at home as efficiently as possible. We call the process of adding our own end-user innovations “R&DI-Y,” or Research & Develop-It-Yourself.
Researchers correlate high caloric content responsible for American obesity with the degree of food processing and the distance food has to travel.* *http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/foodshed.html
In our existing food system, it takes 7-10 calories of fossil fuels to produce one calorie of food. In our existing food system, it takes 7-10 calories of fossil fuels to produce one calorie of food. That’s all we Windowfarmers have to beat to be making progress. About 25 edible plants fit in a normal apartment Windowfarm, a hydroponic system that anyone can make out of recycled plastic bottles and other re-purposed household materials.
Just steps from the table, Windowfarmers nurture their own food-bearing plants historically a core human skill - which leads to a better understanding of humans’ nutritional needs and of the importance of food quality.
:: @ the WHITNEY Museum for American Art_Fall 2009_NYC
WHAT ARE WINDOWFARMS? Lush, trickling, fountain-like window installations sprout organic mixed baby greens, heirloom herbs, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, peppers, kale, small squash, edible flowers and more. Yearround indoor organic food growing without hundreds of pounds of soil. Windowfarms are modular, hydroponic, low-energy, high-yield growing systems for urban windows.
They wonder at vegetable plants growing mid-winter in city buildings & think about the future.
@Eyebeam Center for Art & Technology Summer 2009_NYC
@Kiasma Art MuseumWinter 2009_Helsinki_Finland
Grand scale vertical hydroponic food-growing systems inspire people to envision healthy food systems. People canâ€™t help but stop, captivated first by the beauty of the plants. They notice the vertical fountainâ€™s gentle dripping and recirculating liquid soil.
They begin profound conversations about health, wellness, and the environment. They resolve to participate in the urban food movement.
SYSTEM EVOLUTION The designs for Windowfarms have evolved and “forked” through several iterations in the short span of 1 year. As the core team culls and refines the most viable new ideas from thousands of new windowfarmers into public-friendly kits and free downloadable how-tos, the versioning pace is quickening.
Version 2.0 - affordable - modular - flexible for a2.1 variety of plants Version - easier to explain, install, maintain - quieter - but -noisy evenagain more efficient - still easier to build/maintain
Version 1.0 · fairly efficient · parts readily available · but noisy, ugly, expensive, difficult, and inflexible to plant needs
Version 1.1 · quieter · better looking
Version 1.2 · more efficient · more aesthically pleasing · a little easier to maintain
Version 2.0 · affordable and modular · flexible for a variety of plants · easier to explain, install, maintain · noisy again
Version 3.0 · quieter,easier,modular &more elegant · more plants for less electrical input
R&D-I-Y RESEARCH AND DEVELOP IT YOURSELF The Windowfarms Project and the larger concept of R&D-I-Y give everyone a way to contribute ideas and innovations to the â€œGreen Revolution.â€? Windowfarm designs are constantly evolving, aided by the on-going collaborative public forum hosted on our website. Together, windowfarmers, ordinary people around the world, are testing designs in their homes and contributing their own end-user innovations to make Windowfarms ever-more efficient, carbon-conscious, healthy, nutritious, tasty, quiet, easy-to-assemble, and good looking.
HYDROPONICS is widely held to be one of the best ways to provide fresh food to cities in the future. Hydroponics is also one of the most active areas of patenting in the US right now. We believe this valuable area of developing
knowledge and intellectual property critical to human life should remain in the pubic domain, not just in the
Ted made the lighting more efficient by optimizing the distribution pattern.
hands of specialists & corporations.
Britta and Rebecca made the original vertical windowfarm with tupperware, water bottles, martini glasses, tubing, a timer, a water pump, and CFL bulbs.
Hugh and Andy discovered that bottles could be screwed together and suggested that air valves could be used to control drip, allowing for integrated horizontal reservoirs.
Ian made the airlift system quieter by applying the principles behind gun silencers to a vitamin bottle.
Jackson suggested we use the airlift technique for pumping water. Ania adapted the technique for the windowfarms setup.
The Science Barge Yonkers, NEW YORK
built by local artists 2010 Pixelache Festival Helsinki, FINLAND
Oren Rabinowitz and friends Denver, COLORADO
Progetto Rizomi Turin, ITALY
Videotage Hong Kong, CHINA
WINDOWFARMS TEAM A community of more than 15,000 participants look to Founder Britta Riley and the Windowfarms Core Team for both technical expertise and inspiration about the future of the food system. We represent a diversity of subject area specialties, yet are cross-trained as educators, builders, windowfarmers. We are all highly networked participants in a variety of local New York Food groups. We implement & test the community’s latest developments, recommend best practices, finalize designs and publish instructions for new windowfarmers.
BRITTA RILEY FOUNDER & CEO
TED ULLRICH PRODUCT & PROCESS DESIGN
ANDREW CARTER R&D //SYSTEM DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION// MAINTENANCE// EDUCATION
MAYA NAYAK EDUCATION
DESTINY PIERCE EDUCATION
MICHAEL DOHERTY WEB & TECHNOLOGY
Britta Riley is an artist, exhibition designer, and social entrepreneur who works with social media to create mass participation in solving environmental problems. Her artwork has been featured at MoMA NY, the Whitney, the Venice Biennial, Ars Electronica, on the Discovery Channel’s Planet Green, Good Morning America,NPR and hundreds of other press venues. http: // brittariley. carbonmade.com
Ted Ullrich is an Industrial Designer and Engineer who develops socially- and environmentally-minded products. Ted is fascinated with open-source hardware/software movements and DIY culture and the effects they have on the formal product design and development models. He shares a product development role of the Windowfarms project and oversees the production of kits. http: //tedullrich.com
Andrew Carter is a botanist and ecological designer interested in ways to adapt high-tech aquaponic systems for small-scale community needs. With extensive experience in landscape design and plant maintenance, Andrew manages construction and oversight of Windowfarms commissions, as well as the maintenance aspects of the educational program.
Maya is a professional gardener and acknowledged foodie who has been growing her own herbs in her Park Slope Windowfarm for a while now. She has a knack for teaching gardening and has conducted Windowfarming classes for teachers at the NYBotanic Gardens & various green events around town for more than a year.
Fun oozes out of Destiny’s pores, which is probably why she is recognized as one of the top art educators in New York City. For more than a decade, she has run educational programs and departments at the Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney, and MoMA. Her pet project, Cheryl the Dancy Party,was named Best Costume Party by the New York Times.
Being at the heart of a mass collaboration of scientists, engineers, designers, gardeners, teachers, and foodies, the Windowfarms Team gets to participate in and retell some of the most exciting human stories in the green revolution.
HOW YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE
register as a windowfarmer at our.windowfarms.org
our free instructions
your own Windowfarm
INNOVATE / TROUBLESHOOT
solutions / ideas with other windowfarmers
improved designs/ instructions
OTHER WAYS TO CONTRIBUTE
• commissions • donations
• computers • software
• programmers • designers • see “groups” on our.windowfarms.org for more
YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS ALLOW MORE PEOPLE TO BECOME WINDOWFARMERS
CONTACT INFO • PLEASE VISIT WWW.WINDOWFARMS.ORG AND SELECT CONTACT. • TO BECOME A WINDOWFARMER, PLEASE REGISTER AT OUR.WINDOWFARMS.ORG • FOR INFORMATION REGARDING CUSTOM INSTALLATIONS OR OTHER LARGER-SCALE COMMERCIAL OR INSTITUTIONAL PROJECTS, PLEASE WRITE TO INFO@WINDOWFARMS.ORG
The Windowfarms Project has been featured in ReadyMade magazine, Art in America magazine, Bust magazine, and countless blogs. Windowfarms have been installed at The Whitney Museum, Eyebeam Center for Art + Technology and countless homes. Windowfarms is a union of an LLC and a fiscally-sponsored non-profit via Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, NYC, www.eyebeam.
“... while you’re munching on your homegrown veggies, you can feel good knowing you’re part of a movement that’s changing the way we eat, one window at a time.” - Bust Magazine, 12/09
Special Thanks go out to Silvia Celiberti and Dominique Ahkong, without whom this book would not have been made. Many many thanks to all of our Kickstarter supporters, the Kickstarter team, and of course every person who has volunteered for or participated in The Windowfarms Project √.
THE WINDOWFARMS PROJECT OPEN R&D OF FOOD GROWING IN PEOPLE’S SPACES
Published on Nov 30, 2010