A story that begins with NASA and their Future Farms inititaive and finishes in the windows of thousands of people around the world. A story that shows the power of social media and what can happen when over 18,000 people decide to collaborate on the same project. A shared goal to design an apartment garden.
This is the story of Windowfarms and how Britta Riley and thousands of online co-workers have managed to build, tweak and perfect a product that allows people to grow food in their own apartment by hanging vertical hydroponic grow systems in their window.
After witnessing what NASA were doing with Hydroponic growing and feeling an urge to try and grow her own food, Britta Riley started to build version 1.0 of the Windfarm. But it wasn't until she began using mass collaboration, through harnessing social media and a website RNDIY.com (Research and Develop It Yourself ), that the project really took off. The team first published their initial designs while creating an open source network of R&D around the world - A community collaboration that has grown span 18 thousand people and over 15 countries.
Groups of designers, testers, engineers - hundreds of different professions have combined to build multiple versions of the Windowfarms. Each time evolving the design, tweaking and making it a bit little better, more efficient, less environmentally damaging - an all-round better product.
They're simple, they use readily available parts such as plastic bottles and people can visit windowfarms.com to download instructions on how to build their own. The system is still and may always be in development as the project constantly shifts. Designs are now geographically evolving to take into consideration different light and grow patterns that can be caused in different parts of the world.
The entire community have a patent pending on the design and they are currently working on a number of other projects, including solar energy.
The stand out thing in an open source project like this, is all in the name 'open'. Anyone can get involved, everyone can benefit and maybe the world of home growing and product development on a whole can be changed by what is a relatively small group of individuals coming together with one shared vision...A simple and easy way to grow food at home if you don't have a garden.