Hanoi’s koi cafe has a thriving ecosystem complete with an aquaponic garden

December 12, 2017 by  
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From the outside, this café in Hanoi, Vietnam looks fairly traditional with a tile façade that resembles fish scales and a heavy wood door. But inside hides a thriving garden centered around a koi pond. Farming Architects designed the space as a small, self-contained ecosystem with an indoor waterfall and an aquaponic vegetable garden. The café is nestled in an existing three-story building in Hanoi to which the architects added a steel frame. Its ground floor houses the fish pond filled with colorful koi carp, known as the Japanese national fish. The seating area next to it provides direct views of the water. Customers can also walk around the pond along a stepping stone walkway. Related: Bangkok Residents Turn Abandoned Mall into a Giant Fish Pond The architects included an indoor waterfall flowing down into the pond as a reference to an old Chinese legend according to which if a carp could leap over a waterfall on the Yellow River, called the Dragon Gate, it would be transformed into a dragon and fly away. It also helps oxygenate the water for the fish. The rooftop garden and the pond function as a single ecosystem. Excrements produced by the koi carp are used to create nutrients for the plants growing in the garden on the third floor. Produce grown here is used in preparing the dishes served in the café and helps purify the water that flows back into the aquarium. + Farming Architects Via Dezeen Photos by Nguyen Thai Thach

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Hanoi’s koi cafe has a thriving ecosystem complete with an aquaponic garden

6 urban farms feeding the world

October 26, 2017 by  
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A bustling city is the last place you’d ever expect to find a farm. But urban agriculture is alive and well, providing city dwellers with local, sustainable food.  These days, you can urban farms  inside warehouses, on top of buildings, and even on the tiniest plots of land. If you are looking to grow food in your city, take a look at these six different urban farming projects we’ve rounded up to highlight various creative antidotes to the pressing issue that is global food security . Detroit agrihood feeds 2,000 households for free The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative started a three-acre agrihood in Detroit to bring local, fresh produce to the neighborhood. The agrihood includes a two-acre garden, children’s sensory garden, 200-tree fruit orchard, and a Community Resource Center in the works. Nutritional illiteracy and food insecurity are two obstacles Detroit residents face, and the agrihood provides a community-friendly solution offering free produce to around 2,000 households. Related: Wind-powered vertical Skyfarms are the future of sustainable agriculture Rooftop farms in Gaza grow food where resources are scarce Urban farming initiatives don’t need to be massive to make a difference. The almost two-million population of Palestine’s Gaza Strip doesn’t have much land to farm, so in 2010 the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization introduced the concept of rooftop farming on a large scale by giving 200 homes equipment for aquaponic growing systems. Other Palestinians have built garden beds with recycled plastic and wood, planted with seeds from nearby farmers. Ahmad Saleh, a former professor and community organizer, said rooftop gardens empower people and help create healthier populations. Indianapolis warehouse farm is 100 percent powered by renewable energy Old warehouses are being transformed into farms in some areas of the world, like at Farm 360 in Indianapolis , Indiana. The farm’s hydroponic systems are completely powered by clean energy, and the indoor farm produces fresh, local food year-round. The nearby neighborhood had struggled with poverty and unemployment, and one of Farm 360’s goals was to boost economic growth by providing jobs close enough to where employees live for them to walk or bike to work. Farm on Tel Aviv mall roof produces 10,000 heads of greens every month Israel’s oldest mall, Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv , received a burst of life with the Green in the City rooftop farm. There’s no dirt necessary for the hydroponic systems able to churn out 10,000 heads of greens a month, inside two greenhouses boasting around 8,073 square feet of space. All of the produce is sold, largely to local homes and restaurants through online orders delivered by bicycle. The Green in the City garden was launched by hydroponics company LivinGreen and the sustainability department of Dizengoff Center to raise awareness of the food crisis and offer affordable local produce. World’s largest rooftop farm in Chicago can grow 10 million crops annually Chicago , Illinois is home to the world’s biggest rooftop garden after Brooklyn-based agriculture company Gotham Greens expanded out of New York to start the 75,000-square-foot garden on top of a Method Products manufacturing plant. William McDonough + Partners and Heitman Architects designed the project, which grows 10 million pesticide-free herbs and greens every year, all year round, inside a greenhouse facility powered by renewable energy . Massive Shanghai urban farm to feed nearly 24 million people Shanghai , China is home to over 24 million people, and a 100-hectare urban farm planned for the city could feed nearly all of them. Architecture firm Sasaki is behind the Sunqiao Urban Agricultural District, which is designed to weave vertical farms among towers. Hydroponic and aquaponic methods, floating greenhouses, and algae farms are all part of the design. Images via The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative Facebook , Mohamed Hajjar , Esther Boston , © Lucy Wang , Gotham Greens, and ArchDaily

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The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger

September 13, 2017 by  
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The Free Store, a non-profit organization and grocery store based in Wellington, New Zealand, is serving food for free and aiding in the fight against food waste . Originally started as a two-week-long art project by artist Kim Paton in 2010, the store has now grown into a more permanent institution, stocking its shelves with surplus food from bakeries and supermarkets. In redistributing free food that would otherwise have gone to waste, the Free Store has proven to be a valuable community space. “There are no conditions on who can come to The Free Store,” said co-founder and director Benjamin Johnson. “There are no criteria. Anybody can come for whatever reason and take whatever they want.” Food waste is a major social problem in New Zealand , as it is in much of the industrialized world. Kiwis, or residents of New Zealand, dispose of approximately $625 million worth of food (120,000 tons) each year. Globally, it is estimated that total food waste weighs up to 1.3 billion tons. Meanwhile, people still go hungry. “We saw the potential in an untapped food supply. You had food that was perfectly good to eat, and then you had people that were hungry . We could facilitate a connection between the two,” said Johnson. Related: Britain’s first zero-waste store is packaging-free and only sells ethical goods The Free Store is made possible through support from volunteers , donors, and around 65 suppliers, located around Wellington city center eager to put their surplus food to good use. According to Johnson, the Free Store distributes between 800 to 1,500 food items each weeknight between 6 PM and 7 PM, averaging about 250,000 food items; that amounts to $1 million worth of food saved per year. Since its establishment, the Free Store has spread to four locations throughout New Zealand, adapting their model and funding structure to fit each area. “All you need is a space to operate from, surplus food, people who need the food and will come and take it, volunteers, and a committed group of people who can actually do it,” said Johnson. “There has to be local ownership. In every area where there’s a Free Store, there needs to be a deeply rooted community of people.” + The Free Store Via EcoWatch Images via The Free Store

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New NASA discovery hints at water elsewhere in the solar system

September 13, 2017 by  
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The presence of water on Earth used to help set our planet apart from others, but not anymore. NASA researchers recently uncovered evidence of water on Vesta, the second biggest body in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars . Essam Heggy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory told Inverse, “The more we search, the more we find ice and water in the solar system, and the more we realize water is not unique to our planet.” Recent discoveries – like that of water on Mars or hints of water on TRAPPIST-1 planets – have us questioning what we thought we knew about H2O in the solar system. It’s likely found on the dwarf planet Ceres and the moons Europa and Enceladus, too. Researchers used information from NASA’s Dawn mission , which explored Vesta between 2011 and 2012, to uncover the best evidence for water on the large asteroid we’ve found yet. Related: Scientists just discovered snow on Mars Led by Elizabeth Palmer of Western Michigan University , three researchers scrutinized the Dawn data. The probe discovered regions that were unusually smooth; the researchers think the surface variations weren’t only the result of cratering processes, like on the Moon, connecting them with high hydrogen concentrations, strongly suggesting Vesta is home to ground ice. Heggy, who was part of the research, said Vesta was once thought to be a dry body. These findings suggest we were probably wrong about that. The presence of ice in an asteroid belt opens up intriguing possibilities, since asteroids can easily be knocked out of their orbits to other areas of the solar system. Heggy said comets transport water molecules throughout solar systems. Could asteroids play a role in transporting water too? Even if that’s true, Heggy said it’s too early to guess how they might have impacted Earth’s water supply during its primordial days. The journal Nature Communications published the research online yesterday. Via Inverse Images via NASA/JPL-Caltech ( 1 , 2 )

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New NASA discovery hints at water elsewhere in the solar system

Japan’s new mushroom solar farms produce sustainable energy and food

September 6, 2017 by  
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Japan’s agricultural sector could find a much-needed boost with an innovative approach to growing that combines solar power generation and mushroom cultivation. Sustainergy , a Tokyo -based renewable-energy startup, in collaboration with Hitachi Capital and Daiwa House Industry , is determined to generate a total 4,000 kilowatts of solar power on two underutilized farm sites in Japan. Not only would the 2,000 kw output at each site stand as the largest of any similar facility in the country, the solar sites will serve another agricultural purpose: the cultivation of cloud-ear mushrooms, which require little sunlight, underneath the solar panels. In previous years, a reduced feed-in tariff kept potential entrepreneurs from seeking to convert land for solar purposes. However, in 2013, regulations were relaxed to ease the transition, though the government continued to insist that this land still be used for agriculture in some form. As Japan’s workforce ages and its young people primarily move into urban areas for job opportunities, much of the country’s farmland is unused, with some estimates claiming that about 10 percent of agricultural land is abandoned. If all of Japan’s abandoned agricultural spaces were converted to include solar power generation, the Ministry of Environment estimates that these projects could generate 70,000 megawatts, which would be enough energy to power 20 million households. Related: These amazing zero-waste buildings were grown from mushrooms 1.2 billion yen ($11 million) will be invested in the initial mushroom-solar sites in Miyagi Prefecture in northeast Japan. If this project proves successful, the collaborating companies plan to open up the concept to farmers and utilities across Japan, with Hitachi Capital providing panels and equipment to farmers for free, to start. This would allow farmers to become self-sufficient in their energy needs and earn a supplemental income. Additionally, mushroom cultivation would prove to be a big boost for local food; most cloud ear mushrooms consumed in Japan are currently imported from China . The solar-mushroom farms are expected to yield 40 tons of edible mushrooms while the power generated could be sold annually for 140 million yen ($1.27 million). Via Nikkei Images via Nikkei, Depositphotos , Wikimedia ,  iamme ubeyou/Flickr , and Alpha/Flickr

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Lilium’s all-electric flying taxi could travel from Manhattan to JFK in 5 minutes

September 6, 2017 by  
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A startup from Germany has secured $90 million to build the all-electric flying taxi of the future. Albeit still under development, Lilium’s five-seater commercial jet could be ready for take off as soon as 2019, and, according to a company statement, it could get users from Manhattan to JFK airport in just five minutes. The Verge reports that the $90 million will be used to build the company’s five-seat commercial Lilium Jet, as well as grow its team by at least 70 people. The envisioned Lilium Jet would be able to stay in the air for approximately one hour on a single charge and travel at speeds exceeding 180 mph. At that pace, the jet could travel from London to Paris in an hour. Integrated technology would allow passengers to order an air-taxi to a nearby landing pad. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Lilium Jet's all-electric flying car Watch this all-electric ‘flying car’ take its first test flight. Posted by The Verge on Thursday, April 20, 2017 Lilium has now raised more than $100 million. Investors in the latest funding round include Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström’s Atomico, Tencent, Twitter co-founder Ev Williams’ Obvious Ventures, and a private banking group. CEO and co-founder of Lilium , Daniel Wiegland said, “This is the next stage in our rapid evolution from an idea to the production of a commercially successful aircraft that will revolutionize the way we travel in and around the world’s cities.” Related: Lilium is the world’s first personal aircraft designed for vertical takeoff and landing In a study conducted by Swiss bank UBS , more than half of the 8,000 people surveyed were unwilling to travel in a pilotless vehicle — despite the mode of technology being less expensive than conventional forms.  Perhaps as self-driving cars become more mainstream and fatalities reduce as a result, the concept of traveling in a driver-less flying taxi will become easier to accept. In the meantime, this vessel will be crewed. We can’t wait to see what happens net. + Lilium Via The Verge Images via Lilium

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Lilium’s all-electric flying taxi could travel from Manhattan to JFK in 5 minutes

This brilliant floating farm actually heals the world’s oceans

September 6, 2017 by  
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85% of the world’s fisheries have been pushed beyond their limits – and the future of ocean life looks grim. Fortunately, GreenWave has developed a revolutionary floating farm that actually regenerates our oceans while providing jobs and a sustainable source of food. The vertical aquaculture farm yields bountiful crops of shellfish and seaweed – species specifically selected to absorb greenhouse gas and filter out harmful chemicals. Founded by commercial fisherman Bren Smith and Emily Stengal, an expert in sustainable food systems, the revolutionary GreenWave vertical farming system cultivates an underwater ecosystem comprised of seaweed and shellfish. The farm requires zero input, and it actually restores ocean ecosystems by sequestering carbon and fixing excess nitrogen (which leads to algae blooms and oceanic dead zones). Related: 5 brilliant designs that will change the world win the 2017 INDEX: Award The open-source farming system enables anyone with a boat and around $20,000 to set up their own restorative ocean farm within a year. The Greenwave system won the Fuller Challenge in 2015 and it was recently honored with the 2017 INDEX: Award , which recognizes innovative designs that improve life. + Greenwave + INDEX: AWARD 2017

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Swiss grocery store chain will be the first to sell insect burgers

August 16, 2017 by  
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Would you eat a burger made of mealworms? Coop , the second-largest supermarket chain in Switzerland , will start selling food made with insects . The country will be the first in Europe to allow sales of insect-based food for people, thanks to laws changed in May. Coop will sell insect burgers and balls from Switzerland-based startup Essento . Switzerland’s food safety laws allow sales of food made from mealworms, crickets , or grasshoppers. Coop will be selling Essento Insect Burgers and Essento Insect Balls, both made with mealworms. The burgers also contain rice, vegetables like leeks and celery, and spices like chili and oregano. The balls – which could be eaten inside pita bread, for example – are filled out with chickpeas, garlic, onions, parsley, and coriander. Related: BUG BUG cutlery set might just make you want to eat insects Coop Head of Category Management Silvio Baselgia said they’re Switzerland’s first retailer to sell Essento’s insect products, which the company has been developing for more than two years. Essento co-founder Christian Bärtsch said in a statement, “As food, insects are convincing in many respects: they have a high culinary potential, their production saves resources, and their nutritional profile is high quality. Thus insects are the perfect complement to a modern diet.” According to Essento’s website, mealworms don’t produce as many greenhouse gases as animal food sources like pigs or cows. 80 percent of insects are edible, as compared with 40 percent of cows, and raising insects requires less food and water. Insects are a good source of protein and also contain unsaturated fatty acids, the vitamins A, B, and B12, and minerals like zinc, potassium, calcium, and iron. Essento’s products will be on sale on August 21 in seven Coop stores to start, including branches in Zurich and Geneva. + Essento Via The Guardian and Coop Images via Essento Facebook and Coop

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Finnish scientists make food from electricity

July 28, 2017 by  
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A team of researchers from Finland might have solved world hunger. The scientists just produced a single-cell protein from electricity and carbon dioxide, and it can be further developed for use as food or animal feed. Renewable energy sources such as solar can be used to produce the protein. The final product is a nutritious mix of more than 50 percent protein and 25 percent carbohydrates with the rest consisting of fats and nucleic acids. “In practice, all the raw materials are available from the air. In the future, the technology can be transported to, for instance, deserts and other areas facing famine. One possible alternative is a home reactor, a type of domestic appliance that the consumer can use to produce the needed protein,” said Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, Principal Scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The Food from Electricity project is a collaboration between VTT and Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT). Related: Vertical farming startup raises $200M from Alphabet, Jeff Bezos The next step for the researchers is pilot production to work on improving efficiency and to test scaling up for commercial use.  Currently, the production of one gram of protein takes around two weeks, using laboratory equipment that is about the size of a coffee cup. Pitkänen gives a 10-year timeframe for the product to become fully commercialized. “We are currently focusing on developing the technology: reactor concepts, technology, improving efficiency and controlling the process. Control of the process involves adjustment and modelling of renewable energy so as to enable the microbes to grow as well as possible. The idea is to develop the concept into a mass product, with a price that drops as the technology becomes more common. The schedule for commercialisation depends on the economy,” said Professor Jero Ahola of LUT. The technological breakthrough could in a decade not only provide plentiful cheap and nutritious food to people around the world, but also decrease global greenhouse gas emissions emitted from industrial livestock production. Producing animal feed could also free up land for other purposes such as forestry. + Protein produced from electricity to alleviate world hunger Via Futurism Images via LUT

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Exquisite Shore House is a modernist triumph that embraces nature

July 28, 2017 by  
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Hidden away in Long Island’s North Haven village is an exquisite modernist home that looks like a natural extension of the landscape. Leroy Street Studio designed the Shore House, a green-roofed retreat in Suffolk County, New York with views of the Peconic Bay. Built partly into a hillside, the charred cedar-clad home uses a natural materials palette to sensitively blend into the surrounding environment. Surrounded by windswept trees and tall grasses, the Shore House enjoys a secluded lot on the beach with expansive views of the water and the setting sun. “The home was conceived of as a gateway for experiencing the passage from forest to sea,” said the architects, according to Dezeen . “The approach was designed to guide the individual through a sequence of views revealing new perspectives of the house, sky, and water.” The waterfront home is faced with glazed sliding doors that open up to views of the bay. Related: Leroy Street Studio’s Louver House is an Airy, Daylit Barn-Shaped Home Since the Shore House was built on a sloped lot, the architects partly excavated the site to embed a lower level into the hillside. The main entry starts as a footpath in the forest that leads down a flight of stairs to the green-roofed lower level mostly hidden from view. The dining room, den, living room, and kitchen are located on the lower level, as are the staff bedroom and an outdoor sunken fireplace tucked beneath the cantilevered end of the upper volume. The upper floor houses the master bedroom and bathroom, guest bedroom, and a cabana. + Leroy Street Studio Via Dezeen Images via Leroy Street Studio , by Scott Frances

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