Photos: Mirko Ihrig / Olli Hirvonen
Since the last time I was in San Francisco, little community gardens seem to have multiplied dramatically, popping up in narrow spaces between buildings and formerly garbage-strewn lots. That pattern is being repeated around the world, as people seek cheaper, healthier ways to feed themselves, say two European design students who have created an urban farming tool set made especially for city-dwellers who commute by bus, bike, or on foot from flat to plot.Mirko Ihrig and Olli Hirvonen's five-piece "Urban Farming Tools" set comes with a sturdy, easy-to-clean waxed canvas backpack with places for each implement, including an outside strap for a detachable handle that works with the larger tools, all designed for ease of urban transport. The two master's students at the School of Industrial Design in Lund, Sweden, exhibited their kit at the DMY International Design Festival in Berlin this year.
Portable Tools For City-Dwellers
"Portability was our main focus as [at] many urban farms you can not leave your tools on [site] because they might get stolen or damaged," Ihrig wrote to Treehugger in an email about the project. "We chose the tools we [did] because according to our research [they are] the most basic tools you need for small-scale farming. And if you have them in your backpack and ride on your bike you can't carry too much stuff with you."
The two students got their introduction to urban farming by helping their teacher Olof Kolte at his urban plot on the outskirts of Malmö, Sweden. "We just loved to be outside and do something useful and rewarding. We have no plot yet, but we are planning to start our own little farm soon," Ihrig wrote.
Ergonomically And Environmentally Friendly
Their tools -- a spade, a large fork, a trowel, a small fork, and a dibber -- combine "the classic look of wooden handles" with improved ergonomics, including shafts that are bent using steam for better grip and handling, and use a clip system employed in avalanche shovels and crutches to connect the detachable shaft to the larger tools.
"In general we hope this project draws attention to the field of urban farming and encourages people to think about their habits and behaviors and even start to farm in urban areas themselves," Ihrig wrote.
More On Urban Farming
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Urban Farm Prototypes Reveal the Future of Urban Agriculture (Slideshow)
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Urban Farm Tour Broadens Definition of 'Farming'
The Bronx's Urban Farm is a Community Effort