In-home gardening runs the gamut from sprouting, to the ultra-low-key DIY windowfarm and to the more tech-oriented, smartphone app-guided gardening gadgets. Brooklyn-based sustainable design think tank Terreform ONE (Open Network Ecology) goes even further, proposing this digitally fabricated Urban Farm Pod as one way that families can grow food at home, and have a new hang-out space too -- combining furniture with farming. See Terreform ONE's Mitchell Joachim explain how the Urban Farm Pod in this video from TechTimes TV:
Seen over at Tech Times, this module is conceived as part of a "plug-in ecology" that also doubles as a "living" cabin that people can enter, the Urban Farm Pod features a computer-designed framework in the form of a rotegrity sphere. The skin is made with recycled foam materials that can be flat-packed and then folded into various blossom-like forms that act like planters, also increasing the surface area for growing plants.
The system is based on the principles of agronomy, the science and technology of producing and using plants for food, fuel, fiber, and land reclamation. The idea is pack in different types of planters within the Pod -- some are for growing cell cultures for microprogation, where plant cells are used to grow entire plants, instead of seeds or cuttings. These cell cultures can then be transferred to central planters for growing regular food plants, which are watered by a gravity-fed irrigation system, which re-collects water at a bottom cistern and pumps it back up for re-use. The design uses an innovative process called "DIY agronomy tissue culture", which relies on cell cultures to grow plants rather than seeds and cuttings.
The designers say that the larger idea is to create something that can participate in a larger urban ecosystem:
The vision of the project is to bring back the relationship between human and nature. Let’s grow our own food inside an urban space, be it living room, balcony or roof top of your home or in an urban park for large scale production. The future pods will have a new form of mediated arboreal culture, to integrate the biological and mechanical elements more closely, to transform the object into one that grows and changes symbiotically. The Plug-In Ecology project sets out a direction for healthy biological exchanges with urban inhabitants, and to contribute to the life of urban ecosystems.
The modular Pod can be placed in any interior space, or in exterior areas like a rooftop or even public parks, and can be equipped with different tools and systems to help it adapt to different locations and lighting conditions, to make it bioluminescent, or to convert it into an algal farm.
The Urban Farm Pod is one of the more ultra-futuristic and technologically interesting solutions we've seen that could potentially improve urban food security. But its functionality comes with another helpful aspect: it could also re-connect urban dwellers with nature, by allowing them to grow their own food plants in a scalable system. More over at Tech Times and Terreform ONE.