GOOD

A Farm in Every Window


\nBarely a year old, the Windowfarms project is art come to life. First researched and developed in the South Williamsburg kitchen of co-founder Britta Riley and then later at the Eyebeam Labs, the project is popping up in art galleries and kitchens throughout the world. “It’s really about making it possible for anybody to grow food in an urban place,” says Riley.
With more than half the world’s population now living in urban spaces, it’s a solution that could provide much needed relief to “food deserts”—communities sorely lacking fresh produce. Using an open source methodology to work out kinks and create new releases, an online community of window farmers from Louisville to Stockholm are creating edible gardens in urban kitchens around the world. We talked to Riley about how this is done, exactly.
GOOD: What is a Window Farm? Is it as straightforward as it sounds?\n
BRITTA RILEY: A window farm allows anybody to grow some of their own food in an urban place even if they don’t have access to dirt using a hydroponic system, which is really just a way of using water to provide all the nutrients to the plants. Someone figured out about a century or so ago that you could basically take all the nutrients out of soil and dissolve them into water. It actually allows the plant to absorb the nutrients more rapidly.
G: How did you build your first model?\n
BR: I was fascinated by hydroponics and I knew that it was a real problem to grow food in New York City, so I thought why not do hydroponics on a roof—a hydroponic roof top farm. But I didn’t have access to the roof in my building … and so it was more about finding a way to do this inside my own space … and how to not take up a lot of floor space. The windows had all this light coming through and so it just seemed like the most obvious place. And so it was really about starting off with this idea and knowing that it was kind of crazy. The first system was super janky.
G: Were you having a hard time finding fresh food in your neighborhood?\n
BR: I’m in South Williamsburg and there’s not a lot of great grocery stores. There are mostly bodegas but the guy who stocks the food there doesn’t actually know where the food comes from.
G: So that was part of the inspiration for building the first Windowfarm?\n
BR: Yeah. I’ve got a really busy schedule and so for me to be able to make it to the farmer’s market was really hard. Even if I did, by the time I got around to cooking, the vegetables wouldn’t really be that fresh.
G: What are your plans now? Do you want to get this into the urban “food deserts” and to people who don’t have experience growing food?\n
BR: Yes. Right now you can build this yourself. We have free how tos on the internet and we’re about to come out with a new version release, kind of like software, and the new version is much easier than the previous versions, but you do need a drill. We’ve really concentrated on making it possible for just about anybody to build one of the systems and to use our website so you can ask other window farmers, “why am i getting these bugs?” We want to bring this to [low income] neighborhoods … to get these systems installed in peoples’ homes and not just the art galleries.

This post originally appeared on www.refresheverything.com, as part of GOOD's collaboration with the Pepsi Refresh Project, a catalyst for world-changing ideas. Find out more about the Refresh campaign, or submit your own idea today.\n
Articles
via David Leavitt / Twitter and RealTargetTori / Twitter

Last Friday, GOOD reported on an infuriating incident that went down at a Massachusetts Target.

A Target manager who's come to be known as "Target Tori," was harassed by Twitter troll David Leavitt for not selling him an $89 Oral-B Pro 5000 toothbrush for a penny.

He describes himself as a "multimedia journalist who has worked for CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and others."

Keep Reading
Communities
via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading
Business
via Haldean Brown / Flickr

In a typical work day, people who smoke take more breaks than those who do not. Every few hours they pop outside to have a smoke and usually take a coworker with them.

Don Bryden, Managing director at KCJ Training and Employment Solutions in Swindon, England, thinks that nonsmokers and smokers should be treated equally, so he's giving those who refrain from smoking four extra days to compensate.

Funny enough, Bryden is a smoker himself.

Keep Reading
Health