Are These the Tiniest Microfarms of Them All? New York City Artist Grows Food Inside Furniture

© Jenna Spevack. A microfarm underneath a kitchen table.

The challenges of gardening in small urban spaces have generated plenty of innovative ideas: planters on fire escapes, on room dividers, even hanging in the air. New York City artist Jenna Spevack's experiments with apartment-sized farming started with converting her bookshelf into a mini-greenhouse. Now some of her "farms" are small enough to fit inside a vintage travel case.

Gourmet Organic Microgreens
In her studio in downtown Brooklyn, Spevack is cultivating a rotating variety of gourmet organic microgreens -- her healthy, tasty list includes astro arugula, mizuna, red giant mustard, tat soi, ruby red chard, bull's blood beet, red Russian kale, magenta magic orach, cress, fennel, and parsley -- inside salvaged household furniture.

© Jenna Spevack. A microfarm inside a small travel case.

Starting May 3, eight of these food-growing chairs, cabinets, desks, and suitcases -- adapted with growing lights and an efficient, sub-irrigated planting system Spevack designed -- will be on display at the appropriately named Mixed Greens gallery, where a small "farmstand" will serve as a space for the harvest and sale of the microgreens.

Benefiting Urban Agriculture Nonprofits
Both the forthcoming exhibition and the Kickstarter campaign Spevack is running until April 1 offer ways for people to participate in the hybrid art/urban agriculture project, by buying the harvested greens or their own growing systems to use at home. Donations made at the gallery will go to an urban agriculture nonprofit of the giver's choice.

© Jenna Spevack. A microfarm on a bookshelf.

Spevack has previously designed a self-sustaining permaculture garden for a Lower East Side community center and a plastic-free vertical window farm for apartment use. Her ongoing Birds of Brooklyn project is a community-based public audio installation that "brings the sounds of Brooklyn's displaced, endangered, and bygone birds to sites around the Borough."

Tags: Artists | Arts | Brooklyn | Exhibits | Gardening | Local Food | New York City | Urban Life