Pop-up gardens, indoor farming – how did I miss all those revolutionary, new gardening concepts blooming away in the Hauptstadt? And while I am still amazed how several intercultural gardens are becoming a solid part of communities in Hohenschönhausen or Wedding, urban agriculture in a 5 km-radius of Kotti has become… I guess stylish?!?
Yes, INFARM, a Kreuzberg indoor microgarden has very nicely designed origami-like growing kits, their message however, is deep and their efforts necessary:
“It’s our belief that fresh, healthy food can be grown by people wherever they live and no matter their income. We started INFARM to give people real access to fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables – whether they want to feed their family better, reduce their carbon footprint or be part of where their food is coming from.”
Indoor hydroponics is the keyword here, which Co-founder Guy describes as “water” and “labor”. “It’s a growing method used to grow plants without soil. Instead of the soil, plant’s roots are submerged in water with nutrients that give plants all they need to grow. Hydroponic techniques help to grow plants faster, stronger, and with a significant saving on water (70%-90% less water!) and fertilizer. Add lights to hydroponic plants and you get “indoor” Hydroponics where you can grow plants all year round.”
What else makes INFARM different from other projects?
“First of all, we specialize in growing indoor. This already makes INFARM quite unique. Secondly, we are much more technology oriented. We use the latest in LEDs and measures to insure healthy plant growth. We don’t just rely on our green thumbs. Most of Berlin’s gardens or farms are of the traditional kind – soil, sun and hard labor.”
Seeking a communal aspect in INFARM?
“Currently we are already a few people here working and we have people coming almost every day. We accept volunteers, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org”, says Guy. Also, joining them for a dinner topped up with some freshly harvested greens or a visit to the INFARM Cafe could give you a taste of what the are doing!
“Berlin is very open minded for new things. We weren’t sure how this topic will be accepted as it is new and “challenging”. Berlin proved to be the right choice. It is also a great city to live in with great people and cheap rent!”
… I love your way of thinking, so where am I to buy fresh, local food in the city?
“Hmm.. hard question! I would say the turkish markets and the Markthalle are your best options. But we are also working on a solution.. Hopefully you can get some fresh local food at the beginning of 2015.”