It’s been a while since the last blog posting. We’ve been completely consumed with multiple video production projects and of course spending a lot of our time building the greenhouse. But we are extremely excited to provide an update on the greenhouse!
The Green Goods on our Sustainable Backyard Farming Project:
The ‘walls’ are up! The framed structure is complete! We spent the last week building a sub-floor and insulating the ground in order to keep the Greenhouse as warm as possible during the winter months. The floor is almost finished and we will being installing the roof glass later this week.
Douglas fir framed greenhouse coming together
Continuing to look for the best practices in sustainable greenhouse farming, we’ve started to look at renewable energy alternatives to regulate and maintain the temperature of the greenhouse. As an alternative to using electricity from the grid, we’ve looked at evacuated tube solar collectors and other heat exchange systems powered by the sun.
Aquaponics Farming in BC – Fish and Plants Working Together!?:
Since the last blog update, we’ve spent much time on the internet and on the telephone researching our options for sustainable growing and we’ve decided to become aquaponics farmers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquaponics). Simply speaking, an aquaponics system is a tank of fish connected to a series of vegetable grow beds. The fish and plants help each other grow in a closed, symbotic relationship that requires much less water than than traditional aquaculture or field growing and it doesn’t use chemicals.
Who Inspired Us?
There are two important people who have inspired us to take this approach. The first person, is someone who looks more like a football player than an award winning urban farmer. His name is Will Allan of www.growingpower.org and his story is truly inspiring. Will Allan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EpTWQWx1MQ) grew up on a farm in and enjoyed a career playing professional basketball before reconnecting with his hidden passion for growing local food in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As the charismatic CEO of Growing Power Inc. he farms as a way to promote equal access to nutritious and locally grown food, regardless of economic means. It is also an unbelievable way of building community and connecting to the children of the city.
The second person who has undoubtedly had the biggest impact on us is Murray Hallam (www.aquaponics.net.au ). He has such a simple approach to getting up and going that (his enthusiasm is infectious and encouraging, he makes you feel like you can do it too). He has an extremely rich forum where a wealth of knowledge is shared and exchanged. His insights and ideas are shared openly and they makes so much sense. It’s addictive, in a good way!
We’ve also put some thought into efficient water usage. In addition to Aquaponics farming, we’re going to grow tomatoes and other suitable vegetables in “Wicking Pots”. (http://www.ecofilms.com.au/2010/12/11/a-visit-from-milne/) and http://www.ecofilms.com.au/2010/12/14/create-a-wicking-bed-garden-for-easy-vegetable-growing-powered-by-fishwater/) We’ll also be setting up a rain barrel and becoming familiar with the science of how and when to water our garden, again to be as efficient as possible.
Composting – it all starts with the soil:
There are some pretty incredible ways to reduce the amount of food waste that we put out at the curb every week – if you can get past the ‘icky factor’. We plan to set up a worm farm and a black soldier fly larvae composting system in order to give nature a chance to clean up our food scraps and provide some nutrient rich compost for our own garden. In case you don’t know, black fly larvae (no, they are not house fly maggots. These little guys aren’t as icky) can consume mind boggling amounts of food waste each day.
Too many larvae in the compost? No problem! With a BioPod you can have a self harvesting system that gets past a lot of the icky factor. This is what we will be using to harvest these guys for our fish feed. Take a look at this GREAT YouTube video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnfkW4WgtG8&feature=player_embedded
How can you help?:
Are you fans of our efforts in sustainable living? We hope that you’ve gained a nugget of information from some of the things that we are doing to improve the efficiency of food growth. You can follow our progress by following us on Twitter and Facebook. Spread the word and help us shift peoples’ attitudes and habits about sustainable food production. In the next post we’ll share websites that we visit on a regular basic as well as video material we have watched.