Creating inner-city vertical gardens to feed our planet
Geert Hendrix is the founder and drive behind the innovative AgriFood Tech startup Farmwall. After years working in beer sales, Geert returned to his childhood joy and began making aquaponics systems again. Eventually this led to launching Farmwall and today he sells his systems into offices and cafes. These vertical gardens are closed loop, nutrient dense and perfect for inner city spaces. Farmwalls aren’t just beautiful to look at, they also show us there’s an alternative way to feed our growing urban populations than conventional agriculture.
A closed- loop aquaponics system…say what?
Let’s first clarify what aquaponics is. For your typical home gardener, aquaponics is relatively complex. For example, if growing mint is equivalent to making Vegemite toast, aquaponics is equivalent to making a Baked Alaska cake (which is apparently quite difficult).
Aquaponics is the super-child of aquaculture which is about growing fish and hydroponics, which refers to growing plants without soil. In an aquaponic system these processes occur together and support each other. Fish discharge provides nutrients to the plants, while the plants clean the water for the fish.
The result is a self-sustaining, closed-loop ecosystem. Meaning there is zero negative impact on the environment and all outputs feed us or become inputs for the system.
Farmwalls are carefully and creatively designed to fit into modern spaces. Grow, pick and then sprinkle some micro rocket, pea shoots or red russian kale into your salad. Although these plants are ‘micro’, they have grand effects on our health. They have 40 times the nutrients of their normal sized equivalents.
Improving mental health is also one of the benefits of Farmwalls. Gardening is proven to relax us, improve our focus and in turn make us happier people. With their vertical farms, Farmwall makes these outcomes accessible to offices, places typically devoid of lush, green goodness.
Want to get healthier, support green cities and a sustainable future? Create your own mini Farmwall at their fortnightly group workshops. Or pitch getting one installed to your boss.