Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Gauntlet has been thrown

I was chatting with a friend the other day about life, gardens, sustainability, micro-farming, etc. I rambled on a bit about sustainability, closing the resource loop, living locally, and the role small farms have to play in our future. If you've read much of my blog you know these are the usual topics with me. My friend, an apartment dwelling dentist, listened politely and then said it couldn't work where he lives because the land where micro-farms might be developed was too far away to reasonably close the resource loop. He would love to garden, on a limited basis, if he had the space and the time. Moving out of the city and having a yard with a garden and all the things I'd die without has no appeal for him. (being a dentist has no appeal for me, the idea of spending the day with my fingers in another person's mouth makes me ill, but... I'm glad there are people who do it, enjoy it, and make life a bit better for the rest of us.) Then he did it. He slapped me in the face with the hard steel gauntlet of truth and gently tossed it in my lap. He said, I'd love to have a farm like yours on my patio. That could take off in this city and make a real difference.

WOW! A patio farm. What an idea. Not just a pot of herbs on the sill and a potted tomato or two. A full scale food production system that provided a significant portion of a families daily intake in a sustainable ( closed resource loop for basic energy, water, food, etc. my usual rant). It would have to fit on his 8 by 10 concrete balcony. Could it be done?

So, here is my challenge. Can you design, build, and run for a year or more a food production system that would provide most of the food for two people in a self-sustaining way and fit it on an 8 foot by 10 foot concrete patio? I'm going to try it (on paper first). Is anyone else interested?

3 comments:

shibaguyz.com said...

ARE YOU KIDDING!! Totally throw our soil-covered gardening glove in this fight. That's a TON of space! We have your back on this one. Whattaya want? We've got design, plants... the whole shebang... just need some more details on the space:
dimensions
physical description (railing? ground floor? sliding glass doors? what is the patio made of? etc...)
Sunlight situation
location of the space
That's our requirements for this design. What do you want to do from here? This is gonna be fun! WOOHOO!!

nancybond said...

Now that is a challenge! But I think I'll watch the Shibaguyz on this one -- can't wait to see what you all come up with. Think VERTICALLY. :-)

Daphne said...

I think Nancy is right. Go vertically. I saw a very frightening photo (to me at least, everyone else thought it was cool) at Skippy's Vegetable Garden. It had a strawberry farm planted on plastic poles in pots. It seemed a real waste of a farm (you could fit all those plants on the ground just as easily without the plastic). But for a limited space, going up the walls with the pots would be fantastic, but a heck of a lot closer together than in that photo.

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