Although the concept of urban farming isn’t necessarily new, the trifecta of crowdfunding platforms, widespread access to digital fabrication tools and the general public’s interest in eating healthier has helped propel the practice into both single-family homes and apartment rooftops at a rapid rate. In cities such as London, Chicago and New York City, urban beehives alone are taking up residence atop hotels and city halls – with thousands of more colonies expected to be built within the next few years.
Aiming to ride this movement of urban beekeeping and urban farming in general is a new company that has designed a collection of flatpack urban farming equipment that can be printed at a local fablab.
“Concerned about health effects of industrially produced food?
Worried about environmental impacts of our agriculture system?
Always wanted to grow food, but weren’t sure where to start? “
These are the problems that AKER asked themselves when they set out to develop their urban farming system – which could easily be compared to an urban farming equivalent to IKEA furniture. With their new service, the company plans to sell their kits pre-made for those without access to a fab lab and for those that do have access, all that is needed is a 4 x 8 CNC router to print the entire collection.
In total, the company has created six kits that make up their collection. This includes a modular planter bed system, a hen house, a modular composting bin for worms, a beehive, a wall-mounted planter for indoor gardening and a simple raised planter bed:
The GroGrid is a modular, multi-level, raised planter bed for growing fresh vegetables, flowers, and herbs in your garden. Adjust its layout to neatly snap into your backyard spaces, and grow tomatoes and other vine vegetables on the included trellis.
The EggHaus is a flat-pack, two-hen “chicken tractor” for keeping chickens in your garden during the day (not a full-time coop). Chickens can produce up to four eggs every three days. Enjoy a yummy breakfast from your new backyard best-friends.
The WormHaus is an odorless, indoor worm composting bin with four levels – plenty of space to quickly transform your kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich soil for your garden.
The EcoHive is an elegant, full sized top bar beehive (25 combs). Beekeeping helps restore honeybee populations while promoting the pollination of fresh fruits and veggies in your backyard, and you get to harvest sweet gold every year.
The GroWall is wall-mounted planter that can host dozens of beautiful houseplants. Indoor gardens can also purify the air you breath. Check out NASA’s findings on which ones work the best.
The GroSquare is an affordable raised planter bed. It snaps together in 30 seconds, making it the easiest way to get your garden up and running. Join our buy one, donate one program, and we’ll send a GroSquare to a low-income family on your behalf (3′ x 3′ x 10.5″ dimensions).
Currently, the AKER team is seeking $30,000 in funding on Indiegogo to help launch their open source platform. For just $50 (or less than $10/kit), those with access to a CNC can download all of the build plans and documentation to create their own full-featured urban farm. For those who prefer to get their kits pre-printed, the company is offering the flatpack designs in Baltic Birch plywood starting at $100 and going up to $300 depending on the kit.
While the ecosystem itself is an innovative take on digital fabrication and urban farming, the team has even created an app that will allow communities of urban farmers to connect via a map that will enable them to make trades, swap tips and share a beer while talking about the best worm species for breaking down egg shells.
Find out more and help support the campaign by heading over to their Indiegogo page.