Update on my Innovation Class: Farming the Future

Innovation Class is up and running, and we are finally free to work on what we want to do. Once this happened at first I was stumped. I began brainstorming for about a day or so just scouring the internet and my world for inspiration, problems, etc. Then I came upon this Ted Talk by Britta Riley titled “A garden in my apartment.” It focused on the use of Hydroponics to produce organic food for people in urban environments.

What’s Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is gardening without the use of soil as a growing medium. Generally, plants are put in a net pot with rock wool, gravel, or clay pellets, and immersed in a culture solution (it’s kind of like miracle-gro mixed with water). Hydroponic grown plants produce more and are even more nutritious then plants grown in common soil.

Lettuce in a Hydroponic System

Riley created an online community were people could share ideas and develop their own window farms. This introduction to hydroponics solves an immediate need for society. As our population continues to grow we will run out of space to farm food for ourselves. Hydroponics produces more food in less space, and now it can be done right in your kitchen window.

I found Riley’s ideas so compelling that I thought I should try and develop my own “Window Farm” for my family and contribute to this online community of hydroponic developers. I created a schedule and blocked out what I would do each day. However, I did jump quickly to the design process as researching hydroponics and botany proved to be easier then expected. I also wasted a whole class day developing a nursery lid for seedlings on CAD. Plus, I do not even have the products needed to make my design, but I finalized my thinking.

System Most Useful for Lettuce

I noticed that most family’s on a weekly basis by whole heads of lettuces and I thought it would simplify the process if they could obtain the lettuce straight from their windowsill. I have a rough idea of my design, and it will be constructed out of PVC pipe with about four holes in the pipe. The pipe will be capped off at either end and the holes are for the net pots and plants. The plants will sit directly in the solution like the system above. I have designed a stand using CAD that will hold the pipe. I am still unsure about the use of the air stone however. This system will sit perfectly on a windowsill. Anyway, I followed my original schedule for the project and got my design finalized. All I need to do now is obtain the materials.

Although I know have a design, throughout the week I did notice some flaws in my original scheduling. I made my days too easy, and I feel I could have accomplished more with the time I was provided. Also, as I am typing this the online community I spoke of is currently not running for some reason, but there facebook page is still up. I hope all goes well and I finish out what I started, but I would like to contact people who are involved in this in some way. I understand that NASA is even looking into hydroponics as a viable source of farming on other planets. UPDATE: DID NOT GO THROUGH WITH PROJECT. DID NOT WANT TO SPEND THE MONEY.