Windowfarms founder, Britta Riley, is turning a complex question, ‘How can city dwellers can grow their own food,’ into a social enterprise. With help of more than 12,000 individuals, Windowfarms has perfected the vertical farming for everyone to grow a farm in their window.
It’s easy to dream about growing your own food. Anyone who has had fresh local produce likely can relate to the superior quality, both in taste and nutrition. What’s more appealing than growing that food yourself? How can people caught up in the digital age of the Internet and instant gratification get back to nature? (And what if, like me, you have a black thumb?) Vertical farming and automated, hydroponic gardens that simply hang in your window fuel the simplicity of the revolutionary product. Meet the Windowfarm.
The ingenious business model evolved out of founder Britta Riley’s itch for more green space while living in her tiny fifth-floor walkup in Brooklyn. She started by rounding up some plastic water bottles and plumbing supplies to create a jerry-rigged vertical hydroponic garden. After uploading the design onto a community web platform, she asked members to build and improve on the initial design.
After months of tinkering, Riley patented the perfected (stylish) design of the Windowfarm, consisting of a wire frame that fits four light grey units standing in a column complete with a quiet pump for circulating nutrient-filled water to the planters. The water gentle trickles down throughout the soil-less medium of clay pellets and coir (coconut husks), depositing the unused water back into the base.
Delivering year-round produce like – kale, chives, salad greens, cilantro, strawberries, peppers and a dozen more options—the Windowfarm takes advantage of sunlight from your window and your home’s indoor climate control. You can garnish your chicken with fresh rosemary or make pesto from your window-grown basil. Yum.
One kit doesn’t produce enough food to feed a family (or really even one person), but the Windowfarm isn’t about sustaining yourself only on what you produce. It’s about the inherent education, patience and the shear satisfaction of eating something you grew. The indoor vertical farming system is a simple solution to a complex problem, and every citydweller-seeking-nature’s dream come true. I’d say, welcome to the future of food, where space (and time) might not be an issue.
Don’t miss Windowfarm’s display at the American Museum of Natural History’s “Our Global Kitchen” exhibit going on now through August 11.