Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Preparing for Spring (or collecting plastic bottles and dirt for my nefarious purposes)

A few days ago I started watching TED talks obsessively. For those not familiar, TED organises conferences around the work discussing different themes and has some amazing speakers come and talk about their work, prospects for the future, life, poetry, science, EVERYTHING! They are amazing. I'd known they existed for a couple of years but never watched any, until the other day. And now I'm hooked. It's my new morning routine. Breakfast or a cup of tea and a TED talk. It's a great way to start the day as they generally leave me feeling inspired and revved up to take on the world.

By far one of my favourite talks was given by Britta Reilly of RNDIY.org. It concerned the development of systems for growing vegetables and plants in small indoor spaces, particularly flats and studio apartments. I would absolutely recommend anyone check it out, even those of you with your own out door spaces to grow, just for the pure joy of seeing the inspirational and innovational approaches being developed as a collaboration of everyday people across the world who live in cities but want to grow their own food.

This is basically an arrangement of plastic bottles with good soil in them being used to grow things. A pump system is used to get water to flow through the soil and provide nutrients. As more people are collaborating and sharing their designs (which is what has really driven the development of this project and allowed for enhancements in energy requirements and carbon outputs etc) the systems get sleeker and better and could really make an impact.

So this is my challenge for 2012 though it starts now: collect as many plastic bottles as possible (without giving money to bottled water companies on account of they're stupid), start a small compost pile somewhere, decide what to grow, collect materials to construct the frame and build the thing!

What an exciting way to take my first steps into homesteading. If I can achieve any measure of success with this, I will be over the moon and able to integrate growing my own food with some of the plans I have for the next decade or so of my life before I have my own land.

Thoughts, comments and concerns welcomed as ever. I'm really keen to hear what people think about this. I'm sure there's some aspect I'm overlooking.

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