Biotop Rooftop Gardening System

Hi this is very good news, Morgan.   We can then do something ethico-aesthetically experimental and expressive.

What could that mean? 
Xin Wei

On 2010-02-14, at 12:53 PM, Morgan Sutherland wrote:

Originally I was interested in making an "easy to construct", "user friendly" plant growing system. It seems that this is already covered:

If I learned one thing from the Sustainability Action Fund presentations it was that we really need to push the research angle because every 'practical' angle you can think of is already being tackled by more capable and powerful groups. PLSS should be considered a research system, not a 'solution'.

Biotop Rooftop Gardening System

Originally I was interested in making an "easy to construct", "user friendly" plant growing system. It seems that this is already covered:

If I learned one thing from the Sustainability Action Fund presentations it was that we really need to push the research angle because every 'practical' angle you can think of is already being tackled by more capable and powerful groups. PLSS should be considered a research system, not a 'solution'. 

Status, Grant Writing

Quick update:

I'm currently writing a Sustainable Concordia SAF grant and a FASA Special Project grant (due Thursday). On Friday at 3:20 2:50PM I will give a short (10 min) presentation about the project as part of SAF Public Consultations at 2149 Mackay, CI-101. 

Jordan, Toby and I have settled on a basic design, sketches of which I will post soon. Toby aims to have one large planting box (with embedded infrastructure for water transport)  constructed by the end of the reading week break (late February). 

I will be getting in touch with the folks from Foam and Metabolicity (Loop.pH) soon. Take a look at this video from Maja at Foam about "Luminous Green" and "Grow Your Own Worlds": 

I've yet to do extensive research into plant sensing technologies. This is on the slate for after Friday. 

Thanks to Laura for helping me with clarifying project goals and grant writing. 

First Review of Existing Work

MetaboliCity

MetaboliCity is a vision of a city that metabolizes its resources and waste to supply its inhabitants with all the nourishment they need and more. London based studio Loop.pH started MetaboliCity in October 2009 as a design seeding process that included the participation of over 100 volunteers from eco-architects and hydroponic experts to chefs and residents of East London housing estates, working together to co-design a diverse portfolio of solutions for growing food in the city. MetaboliCity is now a growing network of small-scale, distributed urban vegetation experiments that develop solutions to integrate both traditional and hi-tech agricultural techniques into the fabric of the built environment. Be it soilless, solar powered window farms, vertical green cladding that clings to facades or organically grown vegetables climbing up street lamps, innovative solutions emerged from multidisciplinary teams collaborating.

Loop.pH

MetaboliCity

MetaboliCity Flickr

Note: I think this is the group we want to be most involved with. PLSS could be pitched as a "grow lab"

Window Farms

What are Window Farms??

Window Farms are vertical, hydroponic, modular, low-energy, high-yield edible window gardens built using low-impact or recycled local materials.

Goal 1

to start a Windowfarming craze in New York City and other dense urban areas, helping people grow some of their food year-round in their apartment windows.

Goal 2

give ordinary folks a means to collaborate on research and development of these vertical hydroponic food-growing curtains through the community site at our.windowfarms.org The Windowfarms Project operates in what seems a small niche, but we hope it might be what Buckminster Fuller would call a "trim tab," a small part that turns giant ships by being particularly well placed. Growing some of our own food is a simple pleasure that can make a big difference in our relationship with nature. As we choose nutrients to feed plants we hope to eat in turn, we gain experience with a nearly-lost fundamental human art, get a microcosmic view of the food system, develop a stake in the conversation, and come up with new ideas for how to take care of ourselves and our planet in troubled times. Let's make this experience possible for anyone!

Window Farms

Note: this is another group I think we should be involved with, though our project seems to fall outside of their scope.

The Urb Garde

Xavier Calluaud illustrates the Urb Garden’s simple step-by-step process. Scraps of food are deposited into the worm farm, creating nutritious fertilizer. Water is added and the liquid fertilizer is delivered to the plants via a drip system. The water drains down the tank and then is pumped back up to be used with the next batch of fertilizer. As the plants grow, modular bins are easi ly removed for harvesting and re-potting.

Urb Garden at Inhabitat Xavier Calluaud (not much information)

Herbi

Michael Kritzer’s Herbi is no exception. The hydroponic countertop herb pot is sleek, modern and elegant. But don’t be fooled — Herbi’s not just all good looks and no brain; this little gadget issmart. Even if you are one of those people who can’t keep a stick of bamboo alive, Herbi will grow vibrant herbs for you year-round by telling you exactly what it needs and when. When Herbi needs PH adjustments, nutrients or water, it communicates directly by illuminating a blue LED behind one of four corresponding icons, meaning you don’t have to be a plant-whisperer to have a healthy garden. You can connect up to six little mod units (called “plant silos”) for an herbal medley in your kitchen.

Herbi at Inhabitat

High Performance Hydroponics

I picked up a copy of Urban Garden Magazine at the hydroponics shop on Duluth and de Bullion. Not unexpectedly there is a culture of hydroponic growers who are pushing plants for super high yields. The issue of the magazine I got has an article about sensor-based regulation of nutrients. Perhaps we could push in this direction toward high performance life support.

More to come.

Plant Life Support System

Plant Life Support System is a design for an easy to construct, aesthetically pleasing, open source, and high performance life support system for plants in hostile environments like buildings. We will produce both a physical implementation of the design as well as a set of instructions so that others can construct similar apparatuses. The project will tie into a number of existing open source projects to create communities of indoor gardening systems so as to maximize dissemination. The project will be designed and prototyped at the Topological Media Lab. It will interface with existing media systems in the lab over standard protocols providing sensor data for media applications.

Team
Morgan Sutherland (electronics, project lead)
Jordan Yee (design)
Tobias Glidden (implementation)
Laura Boyd-Clowes (bioethical consultant)
Katie Lee (design)

Deliverables
- a working implementation installed in the Topological Media Lab
- a set of instructions for reproducing our system
- an extensive project log
- possibly a philosophical paper on human plant interaction

Features
- cistern with pump-driven water delivery
- potentially nutrient delivery
- electronic communication and control system
- aesthetically pleasing mounting brackets and containers