Urban Gardening: How to become a Windowfarmer

Britta Riley is a Windowfarmer. ‘A Window-what?’, you will probably ask.

This Ted Talk will enlighten you.

Sick of depending on others for food, Britta Riley decided to grow it inside her own home and created a community of urban gardeners. Riley’s intention was not only to eat healthy and consciously, but to try enhancing our industrial society by making use of its interdependency.

Therefore, together with fellow urban gardeners, she created a website, where she explains the process of Windowfarming, gives instructions, useful ideas and provides you with further information regarding the topic.

Urban Farming is the Future

Riley thinks that by starting indoor growing, people can change the world little by little and she is not alone with her beliefs. The website „Vertical Farming”, run by Dr. Dickson Despommier, a prestigious American Professor of Microbiology and Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences, explains our current problem:

“By the year 2015, nearly 80% of the earth’s population will reside in urban centers. Applying the most conservative estimates to current demographic trends, the human population will increase by about 3 billion people during the interim. An estimated 109 hectares of new land (about 20% more land than represented by the country of Brazil) will be needed to grow enough food to feed them, if traditional farming practices continue as they are practiced today. At present, throughout the world, over 80% of the land that is suitable for raising crops is in use (sources: FAO and NASA). Historically, some 15% of that has been laid waste by poor management practices. What can be done to avoid this impending disaster?”


Everybody can participate

For Despommier and Riley the solution is: urban gardening. As she explains in her talk, it was difficult for Riley to do this project at the start. She and her team had to go through a lot of testing until they got successful with their methods. By opening her project for enthusiasts from all over the world through social media, Riley got a lot of useful suggestions for improvement and therefore managed to optimize her window farming system over the years. At the same time she created a platform where everyone who is interested in urban gardening and has access to internet can learn how to grow his own plants.

For further insight into urban gardening we recommend our german-speaking readers the Arte Documentation: “Sprechende Gärten. Die Berliner Urban Gardening Bewegung.” For everyone else: learn more about vertical farming directly from Professor Dickson Despommier and, of course, from Britta Riley’s inspiring Ted Talk:

Header Image credits royalty free

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About Ece Isil Sahin

Ece has fallen for the arts since she was 5 years old. Growing up between backstage areas and theatre cafés, she is now majoring in Theatre-, Film- and Mediastudies at the Universitiy of Vienna.

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