Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Who took the farm out of farming?

Ahh, the ole head scratcher!  During a recent job interview, I was asked, "what does a hydroponic research technician even do?"  Well, in my case, I researched vertical drip irrigation systems and then attempted to tackle Britta Riley's neat little project the hydroponic window farm.  I liked the idea of the project because it forced me to really make use of reclaimed resources.  As you can see from the installation here, my window farm was made from reclaimed materials.  I promptly enrolled into a woodworking class afterward.  But I learned a lot about the limitations about using partially decayed materials, but also the potential it can have if you use the material properties with it.

One of the cute little finishing touches were the old rusted out bicycles gears I reclaimed from our local bicycle fix-it shop.

For this particular project, I also researched the prevalence of local food markets and how the ability to grow vegetables in areas designated as food deserts impacted the economic recovery in areas with community growing projects and local farmers markets.  Interestingly enough, the areas with the highest concentration of Walmarts and McDonalds correlated with the highest density of economic hardship and per capita poverty.

Sadly, the window farm was tampered with during the summer I did a semester long program and a new pump was never ordered.  But we did manage to grow quite a few local greens and peas with the help of my good friend and horticulturalist, Jennifer Boyle. 


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