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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Urban Farming Guys in India

I woke up this morning to a cool e-mail from the Urban Farming Guys. They'd gone to India, to the isolated city of Imphāl, to install a barrelponics system for an orphanage.

The e-mail contained three videos. The first two minutes of the first video gives you a glimpse of the barrelponics design they were installing. Then next 30 minutes of video mostly gives you a sense of the beautiful people they were serving, and the primitive conditions with which they had to work.

UFG goes to India (14 min) :

part 2 (8 min)

part 3 (10 min)

Thinking back, I initially didn't like the barrelponics system. The blue barrels and lack of aesthetics bothered me. But after over a year of trying to figure out elegant ways to create DIY systems one can create from local materials, the barrelponics concept is growing on me. And I think it would be possible to modify this system to make it less screamingly blue plastic DIY-ish. Anyway, check out at least the first couple of minutes of the Urban Farming Guys' video if you're just interested in plumbing ideas. The rest of the video is fun if you want to experience another world.

Another cool thing I discovered this week is the website Gaisma, where for any major city in the world you can find sunrise, sunset, and averages for the amount of sunlight ("insolation" in kWh/day taking into account weather and cloudcover), the amount of rainfall, windspeed, and temperature. For example, here is a portion of the Gaisma page for Imphāl.

At a glance you can see the amount of sun a location gets in each month of the year, the average monthly temperature, and the amount of rain (you can change the units if you're not used to the default measurements (e.g., inches of rain versus mm of rain)). Using for my location, I was able to calculate the amount of rainfall I could expect per year on my greenhouse, in case I wanted to limit my rainwater harvesting to the relatively-clean plastic roof over my garden. In my case, it comes out to almost 2500 gallons per year for my little 8'x12' greenhouse. Crazy!

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