TERRAform is a unique raised bed designed by La Valise, a French collective of architects and artists. The origins of the raised bed date back to a meeting between the collective and the Mauves Allotment Society in 2004.
Like many before them, the collective came away from the meeting with an understanding of the community that forms around gardens. They realized the purpose gardens could give to people who are marginalized in society due to age or physical limitations.While still in the experimental stage, TERRAform in its current form is the result of the collaboration between the collective and the gardeners they encountered.
The TERRAform pod is made from food safe, UV-treated, recycled polyethylene that is molded to fit the dimensions of wheelchairs. When the three-sided pen is built around the pod it creates a garden at table height that allows easy access for planting, weeding and harvesting. Currently there are around 100 of the TERRAform pods being tested and used in gardens throughout France
The collective describes gardening as a "vector" of social ties. They see the TERRAform raised bed as a way to combat the "segregation" of the elderly and those affected by disabilities.
TERRAform is still in the prototype phase, but there are plans for modifications that will add storage and an integrated irrigation system. Boris Cochy, of La Valise, tells me that they have been fielding numerous requests from the U.S. and Canada with people and organizations eager to put these to use.
Unfortunately, TERRAform is not available in the U.S., but the company is hard at work figuring out the logistics that would make this possible. You can sign up for updates through their newsletter on the TERRAform website.