Fresh produce is always the game of the day in a quality restaurant and New York restaurateur John Mooney has taken the concept to a modern dimension. The introduction of a rooftop hydroponic garden. This allows food being served at Bell, Book and Candle to have a large portion of its daily produce selected from its vertical roof top garden.
Vertical hydroponics is a fairly modern way of farming and maximising space but the original hydroponic technology linking plants with water isn’t as new as people think. But what has changed is the way people look at food and this is driving modern gardening technologies.
Another important aspect of hydroponics besides being able to grow things on your doorstep is that its also environmental with the reduced cost of water usage to conventional farming which can be using as little as 10% in comparison to large scale agriculture. The nutrient injections to the roots of plants mean they grow faster because they are right at the plants tips. This means for the plants they don’t need a huge root system but instead can concentrate on growth upside. The growth rates are generally double that of soil based plants.
Now the system being used at the restaurant is called Tower Gardens and come in at a hefty $499 a unit. Ok for commercial and restaurant growers but maybe a bit hefty for most households unless mix cropping. The system however uses aeroponics which instead of soaking the roots in water it sprays a mist at the plant roots. This gives high yields and extremly intense flavours for vegetables with very little waste.
Activity on the Shipping containers is a bit slow right now so decided to start looking at other containers that are relevant. This one for example is relevant in two ways as its part of green living as well as housed in a container. For which I am going to start looking to add in more green fingered activities on the blog as well to help expand things out a bit from construction and design of shipping containers into a broad way of container living.
This is the McMurdo Ice Station in Antarctica which is a science and support facility. Everything that is going into the South Pole will pass through McMurdo making it a bit of a mailbox for the most remotest place on the planet. During peak season you will find around 1500 but when the skies turn dark its left with a skeleton staff of support crew and engineers.
What has all this got to do with Hydroponics your probably wondering, well in that container building under a rather white sky you will find a lot of plant life in one of the harshest living condition environments in the world. It all began with someone wanting fresh food over tinned and frozen goods. Initially seeking to start with tomatoes wasn’t long until a pilot was bringing in seeds and a small idea became a big reality. Ok may not seem so big here! but if your used to living on tinned and frozen food having some fresh produce makes a huge difference in life when away for months without it.
Add to that though the bleak surroundings and the dry environment of the Antarctic the hydroponics garden doesn’t just become a food source but a place of life and an injection of light as well as humidifiers giving a more “at home in the garden” feel. It no so surprise that people would want to spend spare time in there with months of living in the Antarctic.
The interesting thing here though is to add most of what you see is more like a scrapheap challenge than some scientific adventure. Reason being is bringing stuff to the remote station is often expensive and infrequent. Budgets may be allowed for projects on going but not for the vegetables for your plate. Everything has been pretty much been salvaged where possible but lucky they have the right people in the right place to pull it off. A hot bed of grey matter working away to get it up and running. No scientific experiment going on just people who love good food and willing to put a bit of effort in to make it happen.
Photo credits owner unknown.
The Stockbox Grocers venture idea is to bring essential groceries and fresh produce to urban areas that struggle for access and cost of healthy food. The first miniature shipping container grocery store opened in Delridge in Seattle. Its the prototype of the venture and will be tested at its location for 2 months before looking Stockbox look to introduce other mini grocery stores around Seattle.
The concept and hopes of Stockbox is that it will become easy for residents to walk or bike to the stores to buy fresh food. A small grocery store can meet the needs of urban communities and in reality it used to! We have been slowly converting things to suit the car and the out of town shopping when in theory these places should never have been removed. The advantages of this model though is partnering deals will be struck to allow the Stockbox grocers to operate on car parks around Seattle. The other positive thing about this venture is its targeting the people within communities that only have public transport as an option which isn’t the greatest when looking to shop.
Monday September 12th seen Ferrence and Jacqueline Gjurgevich open the first store at West Haven Apartments car park in Delridge. The small stores can handle 5 customers at a time only need one attendant and will be open 7 days a week.
“A lot of people who come in are breaking down the myth that people of low income and mixed income don’t want access to organic or natural food,” Ferrence tells GOOD. In the first week, the shop proved to be successful and interestingly enough, the most popular items were orange juice, lemons, Dave’s Killer Bread, corn and Annie’s Mac and Cheese.