There's nothing worse than reading about the latest trends in organic gardening or composting from the confines of your urban apartment building in a cloudy climate, knowing you can't experiment or even participate. This month, Bust magazine featured a group of women who are helping city dwellers —the gals behind the community of window farmers.
Author Devan Boyle talked to the Brooklyn-based scientists Britta Riley and Rebecca Bray, who grow a weekly salad of "tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, okra, basil and peppers" from "25 plants [in] a 4'x6' window." The women devised a hydroponic gardening system using 5-gallon buckets and recycled plastic water bottles. Their website teaches anyone with $30 and a window how to make her own vertical farm.
As winter approaches and even the most rural of us are taking our gardens down for the season, Riley and Bray write that we can grow food year round, even in an office window, as they had delicious yield from a dimly lit NYC window. Their step-by-step tutorials with images offer two different methods of window farming.
For those feeling nervous about the task or just eager to share, Riley also created a blog and online forum for fellow window farmers to chat about their crops. The sharing of the experience is important to Riley and Bray, who feel window farming participants "rediscover the power of their own capacity to innovate, and witness themselves playing an active role in the green revolution."
According to Bust, the pair consider window farming "a starting point for environmental reform" and have used their research to "bring relief to 'food deserts' in sandy towns just outside Johannesburg, South Africa." The Window Farms creators say they are "both starting a window farming craze in cities worldwide and hoping to accelerate the pace of sustainable design by having ordinary citizens think of themselves as innovators."