ar·col·ogy - ärˈkäləjē - combining "architecture” and “ecology”. A set of architectural design principles for enormous habitats (hyperstructures) of extremely high human population density.
now - naʊ - at the present time or moment
Growing food on earth is not rocket science. Our current industrialized agriculture model has huge flaws. It's destroying our environment, our health and our wallets. We hope to make greenhouses a fixture in modern homes similar to how most homes have a refrigerator. We want to reconnect people with nature. However, we also understand it has to be easy and it has to work in many climates.
This product will be the synthesis of several key technologies. These technologies are soap bubble insulation, aquaponics, automation and the internet.
Soap bubble insulation is being pioneered by the SolaRoof open source consortium led by Richard Nelson. They construct a structure with two transparent membranes. In between the membranes they blow in soap bubbles. It's that simple. The bubbles offer insulation when you want it but they can also be turned off when you want to let the heat in. There are currently many ongoing independent experiments around the globe pushing this technology forward. It's in use in the cold extremes of Norway to the heat of Phoenix. More information can be found at their website www.solaroof.org.
We can adapt the SolaRoof technology to our frames. Instead of steel we'll use PVC tubes and stainless steel fasteners. Once we have a low cost climate controlled area we can focus on optimizing the grow space. We're going to use aquaponics to do this. Aquaponics is similar to hydroponics but it uses fish poop instead of chemicals. It's all natural and organic. There are many aquaponic installations throughout the world and many DIY'ers experimenting with it. We hope to package this up into an easy to use and affordable unit.
The third main ingredient is the automation and internet. We plan on automating the entire greenhouse using low cost micro-computers like the raspberry Pi and low cost sensors. We'll connect these up to the internet and work with a distributed team of open source enthusiast to get actual data from our greenhouses in the field and figure out what works best to optimize food growth for different environments.
We're partnering with several local entrepreneurs to make this product happen. Curt Grantrom is a local aquaponics guru. He's going to help us get a few test aquaponic systems functional and then hopefully more. Thomas McFadden is also helping us. He specializes in building urban gardens in wasted space.
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