Our first attempt to grow vegetables on trees!

Posted on February 12, 2008

On Sunday Sowmya, Rashmi and I had gone to the Yelahanka old town market to buy two baskets and fifteen meters of rope. The idea (which I have been hinting at across the last week) was to build a small unit to easily grow vegetables on trees. Well we haven’t fixed the “easily” part yet and the unit has to get a whole lot more intelligent, but the first attempt at one went up in the air today. On Thursday each team/country paints their baskets in the colours of a flag which they will design and will start sending more baskets up in the air.

OK, so first some pictures of the unit and then more rambling about it. Here it is, up on a tree in front of our school:

tree farming

Will describe the process of getting the basket up there in another post, for now, some more thoughts about the unit to “grow vegetables on trees” :)

Why (grow vegetables on trees)?

  • Trees are an increasingly scarce urban resource. Besides having “abstract” environmental or ecological value, I think trees need to be perceived to be playing a part in our short-term survival strategy. Making them a part of our food-chain is one way. Growing vegetables on trees in public spaces and then in turn making this food available and accessible to various communities could do that. I think politically it would be very difficult for the municipality of any city to destroy a survival mechanism of any sufficiently large community. There will be scandal :)
  • Tree-top space is about the safest public space available to grow vegetables. If one can develop intelligent mechanisms to water, maintain and protect (from monkeys, birds, vandals) these units then this could really be a scalable mode of urban farming, sustaining maybe a huge number of people.
  • We need ways to express our claim on public spaces around us and use them for communal and public objectives. The outdoors are ours to plug ourselves into.

Any more good reasons to do this? Haven’t thought of them yet. Yes, as an artist, I quite fancy hanging the next basket fastened with transparent/invisible fish-rope and create an illusion of food growing in the middle of nowhere. Wonder if that will work out?

More pictures in another post.

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