Thursday, 7 April 2011

Water Gardens and the Urban Environment

Back to Tap has been in touch with the pioneers over at the Science Barge to discuss their prototype, sustainable urban farm and environmental education centre that is now in its third year of operations. It is the only fully functioning demonstration of renewable energy supporting sustainable food production in New York City. And it is floating on the Hudson River!

The Barge grows tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce with zero net carbon emissions, zero chemical pesticides, and zero runoff. It is powered by solar, wind, and biofuels, and irrigated by rainwater and purified river water. By providing an accessible and fun platform for exploring urban food production and sustainable energy, the project helps to change attitudes towards the urban environment.

As part of the expansion of the Science Barge's gardening mandate, a greenhouse has been built on top of a local school, and it is great to see innovation and primary education literally feeding off of each other. The greenhouse relies on an advanced hydroponics system to grow fruit and vegetables, providing a great science class tutorial as well as enhancing the nutrition of diminutive New Yorkers. Schools everywhere should have gardens as a focal point for educational, nutritional and ecological advancement.

Barges in London (above) and in Boston (below) which inspire us to explore ecologically sound ways of interacting with the urban rivers.

Here in London, Back to Tap is excited about the Barge Garden Competition being held in Boston - the honourable mentions on their blog offer inspiration for London to think creatively about how we interact with the environment. In particular, we look forward to future work that re-examines our relationship with water, the earth most precious resource.

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