Did you know that by the time a head of lettuce is transported to the supermarket, most of its nutritional value is lost?
It’s beneficial to take a microcosmic view of the food system and come up with ideas to take care of ourselves and our planet in troubled times.” These words of Britta Riley, New York artist and innovator, accompanied a prototype model of her Windowfarms project displayed at Deutsche Bank Pavilion at the Indo-German Urban Mela which concluded last weekend at the Palace Grounds.
Britta Riley’s Windowfarms has gained worldwide attention for her unique approach to growing food in small urban apartments using a window, plastic bottles and some plants.
Her company was named one of the top 100 businesses to watch in 2010 by Entrepreneur Magazine . Windowfarms makes vertical hydroponic platforms for growing food in city windows.
Logon to www.windowfarms.org and you’ll get an idea of Britta Riley’s and Rebecca Bray’s efforts in building and testing the first window farm inside a New York apartment. The team’s knowledge accumulated through working with agricultural, architectural and other specialists (along with online crowd sourcing and a R-DIY — research and develop it yourself — collecting data and reinterpreting hydroponics research by NASA scientists and marijuana farmers.
The research led to the development of hydroponic designs which the team claims is inexpensive and made from relatively low-cost materials.
What is hydroponics
Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture and is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water without soil.
The working prototype designed by Riley and Bray is a drip system made from recycled water bottles, holding 25 plants.
“Beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, arugula, basil, lettuce and kale thrive, but one should go along choosing your greens according to prevailing local temperatures,” advises Riley on the website.
She also believes that growing ones own food is a step in combating the food industry’s heavy carbon footprint.