Turning Windows into Farms

Big window farm at Eyebeam, July 2009. Photo by Lindsey Castillo.

I’m a city girl. I grew up in a place that was pretty much a concrete jungle. And until I was 21, the only farms I’d seen were those on my computer screen when I played Sim Farm. That probably explains why I stared in wide-eyed wonder as Sam drove me around the vast farmlands of Wisconsin. I was so excited that the barns, silos and haystacks looked just like the images painted in my mind by the virtual game!

Gabriel Willow's Window Farm, July 2009. Photo by Gabriel Willow.

When I was working on the documentary for Project Green Heals, where we followed 98 high school students on their journeys to learn about urban agriculture, I learned about the great benefits of having food grown close-by. Food grown locally:

  • doesn’t have to be transported over hundreds of miles, so you save on gas and energy.
  • gets to you faster, so it hasn’t lost as many nutrients.
  • has no need for harmful chemical preservatives to keep them looking good longer.

Just like Singapore though, Chicago is a bustling city where buildings fill almost every square foot of the area. Without the huge plots of land, many believe it’s impossible to grow our own food. Fortunately, there are groups out there working to prove that it can be done. Uncommon Ground has turned one of Chicago’s many flat roofs into the country’s first organic rooftop farm.

Gabriel Willow's Window Farm, July 2009. Photo by Gabriel Willow.

The Jane Addams Hull House turned a small plot of land right in the middle of the city into an urban farm, growing enough food to run its soup kitchen to feed the hungry.

But what if you don’t own a restaurant or you’re not part of a large organization? What can we, as regular individuals, do about it?

Window Farms could be the answer. Imagine being able to grow food, right in your own apartment window.

Window Farms are vertical, hydroponic, modular, low-energy, high-yield edible window gardens built using low-impact or recycled local materials.

Learn in less than 3 mintues what it’s all about:

Made from recycled bottles, decorative and food bearing. I find that pretty darn cool. I’d definitely love to give growing my own food a shot in my future home. Has your family ever been into home gardening? What are your thoughts on the Window Farms?

Living life the conscious way…

It’s been exactly a month since graduation and life’s still a whirlwind of events happening each day. After a nice 10-day trip to visit relatives and tour NY & Canada, it was straight back to Chi-town to start on my internship with Conscious Planet Media.

So much has been packed into the last two weeks that i’ve been on the job. Had the chance to film everything from high school students doing green collar work, GreenHEALS tag teams Chicago Sky to green our parks!to the Chicago Mayor Daley at the unveiling of the nation’s first organic rooftop garden, to adventures at the Green City Market in Lincoln Park! Also just finished editing Conscious Living TV’s latest episode on green luxury travel, which was fun, although i have to admit that it’s hard to watch footage of other people getting massages in a spa; It makes my back suddenly crave for one too!

It’s been an awesome opportunity to meet people involved in the green community as well. I realize it truly takes a network of people, from the educators to the policy-makers to the business owners and media, fighting for the same cause to make a big impact. I’m definitely picking up healthier eating habits and various little things i can do to live consciously. I love getting to put my media production skills to meaningful use! Go green! :)