2012-01-26

Co.Exist

An Open-Source Hydroponic Vertical Garden With A Built-In Social Network

Everyone’s favorite window garden just hit record-setting numbers on Kickstarter, and its new iteration is both cheaper and easier to use. Is this the start of a home gardening revolution?

Sure, it’s easy to build and maintain a vertical garden in your window if you’ve got a green thumb. But like most things, gardening is easier if it’s a social activity. Chances are, that’s why Windowfarms—an open-source hydroponic gardening system with an online community of over 26,000 windowfarmers around the world—has been so successful. In addition to legions of fans, Windowfarms now has over $230,000 in Kickstarter funding, making it the most successful food project on the site ever.

The year-old Windowfarms project makes it easy for gardening enthusiasts to get started. Just follow the instructions to build a windowfarm or buy one directly, stick the Windowfarm in a sun-filled window, and start growing your garden. If you buy a Windowfarm, you can even elect to receive baby plants, ranging from red leaf lettuce to oregano.

But if you’re a gardening novice? The previous generation of the Windowfarms system may have been a little intimidating. The latest iteration of the design is much easier to build—and it’s cheaper to buy, with a price tag of $99, compared to the older price of $249. Instead of using empty plastic bottles, the new version uses "environmentally friendly plastic and wire" that easily snap together.

Windowfarms surpassed its $50,000 Kickstarter goal long ago, but people are still lining up to pre-order the new design. It shouldn’t be a surprise. Hydroponic gardening is quickly gaining traction across the country as a fresh alternative to the withered produce so often found in grocery stores. And because Windowfarms has a strong online community that’s willing to answer questions like "How on earth do you get the inflation needle to stay onto the check valve!?," there’s no reason why the project can’t balloon into an even bigger crowdsourced urban gardening revolution.

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