When it comes to the DIY urban agrarianism craze, there’s been a heavy emphasis on rooftop mini-farms and gardens (and increasingly, apiaries). It’s all good and green but for many urbanites a city roof might not be most accessible place to dig in. Personally, I don’t think my landlord would be thrilled if I were to start cultivating cucumbers spread out in containers atop my building. Heck, I don’t even know if I’m technically supposed to be up there (but that’s never stopped me ... maybe I can give it a shot and start paying rent in rooftop-grown pickles).
NPR hit the airwaves last weekend with a story on a bourgeoning urban gardening movement that started out in Brooklyn (natch) and has caught the attention of greenthumbed apartment-dwellers in cities across the globe who, for one reason or another, would rather grow indoors instead of take to the roof. It’s called window farming and it’s a year-round, hydroponic (soil-less) vertical gardening technique that requires recycled 1.5 liter water/soda bottles, a fish tank air pump, plastic tubing, and clay pellets — all stuff that can be acquired on the cheap from a recycling bin, hardware store/gardening center, and pet store (windowfarming.org also offers a start-up kit). A window that gets plenty of sunlight would also be most helpful.
In the piece, NPR chats with avid Brooklyn window farmers Britta Riley (one of the founding forces behind The Window Farms Project) and Maya Nayak who share their experiences with growing delicious veggies and herbs (no root veggies!) in upside down plastic water bottles hung in windows. Riley calls the window farming process “R&DIY” (Research and Develop It Yourself). Download and listen to the story over at NPR or just take a gander at the accompanying article. And be sure to check out the video below to see window farming in action.
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