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Parts list and some references for aeroponics/hydroponics systems



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Parts list and some references for aeroponics/hydroponics systems
(assumptions: aeroponics, simple and cheap, able to be expanded with sensors)
large tub, 2 or 3 lids (if they are sold separately, we will likely ruin a couple!)

250-350 gph submersible pump

10-12 feet of 1/2\" white PVC pipe

PVC cement

irrigation system spray heads (6-8)

connectors between pump and PVC

connectors between PVC and spray heads (1/2\" connectors in example, with screw in fittings)

a bucket of hydroponic food (powdered or crystals to supplement water)

hydrogen peroxide (for sterilizing the grow chamber)

a dozen or so slotted grow cups (must have slots to allow roots to come through)

a dozen or so seedlings (ie. lettuce)

some seed for Rand's experiments (??)

a hacksaw to cut the PVC
best, easiest design I've found so far: http://strainreview.com/cheap-and-easy-diy-aeroponics-less-than-30-mins/

another decent one: http://blog.junglin.com/my-homemade-aerogrow-system/

Not a bad idea, but the hose has problems: http://www.jasons-indoor-guide-to-organic-and-hydroponics-gardening.com/homemade-aeroponics-system-2.html

interesting similar design, but nicer looking! http://www.rollitup.org/hydroponics-aeroponics/90747-my-first-aeroponic-design.html
excellent discussion paper on aquaponics: http://www.ca.uky.edu/wkrec/454fs.PDF

interesting supplier of aquaponics systems: https://www.aquaponics.com/contact/
Great start to a sensor network: http://paper.ijcsns.org/07_book/200903/20090332.pdf
decent commercial system: http://www.biocontrols.com/aero6.HTM

very nice review writeup: http://wapedia.mobi/en/Aeroponics

wiki writeup isn't bad either but plainly drew from the same sources: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Aeroponics
Alternative refrigerator ideas
From talking with Ted Selker, I'd like to propose that we consider regrigeration technology as a potential target. Today, the fridge is used in developed countries, but is much less effective in developing countries. Ted gave an example of a village in India that he's visited where they use the fridge at night to make ice to hopefully carry them through the day when the electricity cuts off. I've seen similar situations in rural Mexico where a couple of times a week people have to go several hours to the main markets because there is no power to drive refrigerators. There are a number of technologies to look into:
alternative atmospheres:

this is CO2 atmospheres, or N2, or simply vacuum or oxygen absorbers.
for vegetables, Ted keeps his basil on the counter in a nutrient solution, so never needs to regfrigerate it.
We should think about this in terms of what spoils food, and what we have available to stop those processes.
I think that this ties in well with the salad machine in that if we can grow good food and store good food then we become less dependent on external food. Even in the developed world, refrigeration accounts for a huge portion of an average household's energy needs.
What spoils food:

-bacteria - often oxygen dependent, sometimes anaerobes but more rarely

-fungus - molds, etc. these are generally oxygen-dependent processes (ie: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128061773 )

-overripening - can also be gas-mediated. A CO2 atmosphere, for instance, delays ripening while an atmosphere high in ethylene hastens ripening (this often generates oxygen)

-pests - ants, etc. In puerto rico these were a problem even in the fridge

-nutrient loss - this is primarily a function of age and heat because vitamins are often not the most stable molecules (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050323124809.htm)
What preserves food:

-refrigeration slows bacteria and fungal growth, slow nutrient loss

-lack of oxygen

-competing biological processes (ie. cheese)
ideas:

--bar fridge as a convenient, familiar, easily sealed space

--can generate a vacuum through mechanical means, ie. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpEG0ATylzo

-can remove oxygen via several means:

--oxygen absorbers - generally non-reusable chemical means to absorb O2

--burn it off

--pull it out with a vacuum pump

--replace air with N2 or CO2, but then requires compressed gas delivery ($$)

-dehydration is certainly a possibility, but changes eating patterns too much
JULY 10 2010
Building agenda
Reports
Steve : Vertical Farms

We are a small group. What I think makes sense is to figure out what everyone else is doing. We could partner with some of the other organizations and connect them together.

Obesity - MyFitness Pal app

Google Chef

-- bring in some other people who have thought about this problem; we need to find the right place that we want to \"play\"

In terms of the vertical farm thing, you aren't super passionate about a vertical farm.

Constructing a building is not that exciting/feasible. There are other groups who are working on this problem.

--Robert: I don't think we should limit ourselves by saying we can't prototype in 10 weeks.
Maggie and Anders: IT and FOOD/NUTRITION/FITNESS
*References and instructions

*cookbooks, online instructions for building hydroponic greenhouses

*Organizations

*People's Grocery

*Direct shopping (boxes)

*Boston organics

*Test and tracking (iphone apps)

*calculators for nutrition: calories, bmi, sugar, blood alcohol

*calculators for exercise: fitness bike, step, run, gym

*Use of social media

*facebook groups for \"local food\" (1800 fans), \"veganism\" (15,000 fans).

*Mobile

*Grocery list generator

*Sixth sense -- TED talk -- red, yellow, green dot for healthiness. ou can also combine with genome -10 to +10 in terms of a good or bad thing to eat.

Our conclusion: Webservices both mobile and PC are still immature. The trends are: Personalization, value change integration and mobile accessibility. The markets are saturated. There is not a comprehensive website but it wouldn't be able to change the food system in a major or \"exponential\" way. We should focus on something else.
Robert: Red Lazer

Anders: Google goggles

Derek: This is happening faster on the android than on the iPhone

Steve: myfitnesspal.com

Derek: what would we add to it?

Steve: Add functionality, connect to US government, provide more information

Derek: DIY bio: reusable sensor? Glucose sensor are $1/shot. Immediate glucose sensing.

John: Local food database

Robert: Production or consumption? John Deer -- there is a lot of IT for farmers.

Rand: We don't have access to scientific journals. Solution: Robert,

Robert: The space is made up of \"granola\" tree-hugging local-foods, slow-food, greenpeace movement. It hasn't ben mainstreamed in a meaninful way. Make the slick, modern, up-scale, mainstream version of this as a grocery store/restaurant.

Steve: Why hasn't it gone mainstream?

Maggie: Apple Store-gone hydroponics restaurant

Robert: It wouldn't address the bottom of the pyramid immediately but would get mainstream investors, research. Slick, cool, trendy.
DEREK ON \"LETTUCE MACHINE\"

It is very feasible to build a small-scale \"lettuce machine.\" We need sensors. It would be for the developed world. It would sync up with the restaurant idea.
Discussion with Ted Selker -- the ways of preserving food that aren't refridgeration based. You lose a lot of nutrients after lettuce is refridgerated. You can keep basil/lettuce in hydroponic. Nitrogen-based or vacuum-based refridgerator.

Robert: Home Depot -- they are hard to set up, you have to be a specialist to do it. We need to have it for the \"American idiot.\" Elegant solution.

Derek: We need to have a functional capacity.

Rand: Why are they so expensive? Recycling cups. Intelligent hydroponic system for under $5 per pot.
RAND on HYDROPONICS
Thinking a lot about hydroponics. It is a very cool project. I don't understand where the price is coming from. For individuals, it is still a cool luxury. Why is this a problem to get to developing countries. Fake soil floor in Africa. You can create a farmland wherever you want.

Sam: I doubt the problem is a lack of arable land. I think the problem is irrigation.

John: They sell disks that are waterless. These are expensive. Nutrients will be needed no matter what.

Robert: If you mass produce these, they would be cheaper.

John: The water issue is more difficult. How do we keep water.

Charlie: We could figure out how to lessen water loss -- build greenhouse.

Sam: NASA has done alot of research already with aeroponics. There is a lot of ingenuity that has already been put out there.

Derek: I'm not sure if we have to be ingenuitive technologically but more

Charlie: Plastic bags-- how are they used?

Nolene: If you increase the humidity, your nutrients can get infected.

John: Infection is a major problem.

Derek: Outflow of hydroponic system for contamination.

Nolene: Aeroponics doesn't use water. It gives a higher yield. The initial investment is high. If we can decrease. The reason that most places in Africa can't farm is because of a lack of arable land. water

Charlie: What about the land makes it unfarmable?

Rand: How expensive it would be to make a pipe?

Derek: You need to sterilize.
Sam: If we don't work with the water group we won't have any success in developing world.
Nolene: People are dying today in the developing world - we should deal with this now.
Rand: We will still need to implement this in the developing world.
Sam: Do you have numbers on the cost of hydroponic farm?

Derek: Comparison to conventional farming is difficult because we don't have economies of scale. Initially it will cost more.

Sam: In Antigua it costs 35% more than conventional farming.
Sam's Report on Scanning
Sam: Tracking where food came from. Field --> store. Barcodes (2D or 3D, RFID). Companies care about this -- time and temperature tracking, food is getting there in one piece. Freshness, pesticides.

Steve: RFID: cost?

Sam: At the moment RFID are 75 cents each (April), 15 cent ones are unreliable. Other problems with moisture, etc.

Derek: really?

Anders: They are using it on the outdoor palet. Not on individual products.

Robert: Even if it was on the product?

Derek: One of the blogs I was reading: barcode reader.

Sam: Walmart. Conagra tags at the palet level. 'Harvest Mark' - 2D barcode on the produce. nanobarcodes. Opportunity in the space: take information from the consumer database and move that into a place that consumers could access it. Link palet and products so that consumers could get all that information. Will they be willing to share that information?

Similar idea: Scanning food. Food recognition scanning software by Carnegie Mellon U. Take a photo and it figures out what it is. It could then tell you the life cycle of the food.

Robert: Also, fish molecular scanning.

Sam: CASPIAN - spychips. People do NOT want to be able to track their food. The govt is going to track everything that you are eating. Privacy concern. Insurance/credit card.

Anders: IBM has a goal to make RFID at 1 cent.

Steve: Truth of advertising?

Robert: Smarter Planet @ IBM. RFIDs are a major part of smarter choices.

Anders: Food is stolen and resold? How big is this problem?

List of topics:

(1) Scanning Food

(2) Grow Fridge/iGrow/Salad Machine

(3) Store/Restaurant (High end.. apple store \"vertical\" farm)

(4) obesity management tools

(5) Municipal Vertical Farm
Basis for evaluation:
potential synergies/interconnedness

scope of impact

litmus test/input from existing organization

novelty; are we 'reinventing the wheel'

long-term potential (commercial viability)

incorporates exponential growing technology

environmental/nutritional outcomes (esp. if utilizing GMOs).

tangible, aesthetic deliverables
john.a.hogan@nasa.gov

chris.mckay@nasa.gov

TIMELINE

Challenges Benefits

Dominated by IBM Build on technology, bring it into food sector

Structurally blocked - infrastructure Intelligent Labeling

Minimizing Food Waste
Keep in consideration but not a major focus
Grow Fridge
Challenge Benefits

expense (potential) market opportunity?

market demand? transport; nutritional

design challenges tangible; high-end gadget

consumer electronics business project in the near term

prototype

refrigeration
Store/Restaurant
Challenge Benefits

Consumer finniky market opportunity

\"attitude changing\"

is this \"really\" a team project?
Obesity Mgmt Tools
Challenge Benefits
Saturated mkts Incorporate with other health mgmt tools

unclear business plan
Municipal Vertical Farm
Challenge Benefits

Infrastructure project
VOTES

Feedback:

Good group dynamics, good participation, almost 100%

challenges: time management, schedule management

VOTE

(1) Urban Farming (7)

(a) Grow Fridge (2)

(b) Restaurant/Store (2)

(c) Community-wide product (3)
Task: Research topic of choice and look at the notes on the etherpad
online citation tool: Zotero

******
Maggie's suggested reading list

URBAN AGRICULTURE
I. IV. Michael Pollan (food scholar): The Food Movement, Rising (The New York Review of Books, May 20, 2010)

http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/the-food-movement-rising/

Quote: In fact it\u2019s hard to say which comes first: the desire to promote local agriculture or the desire to promote local economies more generally by cutting ties, to whatever degree possible, to the national economic grid.

II. Wendell Berry, a scholar of \u201cagrarianim\u201d

The Agrarian Standard (2002), Orion

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/115/

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/115/
Interesting quote: \u201cINDUSTRIALISM BEGINS WITH technological invention. But agrarianism begins with givens: land, plants, animals, weather, hunger, and the birthright knowledge of agriculture.\u201d (remember that he is PRO agrarianism)
Concluding paragraph : \u201cIn our time it is useless and probably wrong to suppose that a great many urban people ought to go out into the countryside and become homesteaders or farmers. But it is not useless or wrong to suppose that urban people have agricultural responsibilities that they should try to meet. And in fact this is happening. The agrarian population among us is growing, and by no means is it made up merely of some farmers and some country people. It includes urban gardeners, urban consumers who are buying food from local farmers, consumers who have grown doubtful of the healthfulness, the trustworthiness, and the dependability of the corporate food system\u2014people, in other words, who understand what it means to be landless.\u201d
III. Review of Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, The New Yorker

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2009/11/09/091109crbo_books_kolbert
IV. A description of a successful urban agriculture project:

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/food-for-everyone/growing-power-in-an-urban-food-desert
V. A recent article from Harper's about the \"food bubble\" --> http://www.economics.arawakcity.org/node/618
I\u2019d like to buy these books:

The Taste for Civilization: Food, Politics, and Civil Society

by Janet A. Flammang

University of Illinois Press, 325 pp., $70.00; $25.00 (paper)
Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front

by Joel Salatin

Polyface, 338 pp., $23.95 (paper)
All You Can Eat: How Hungry Is America?

by Joel Berg

Seven Stories, 351 pp., $22.95 (paper)
UPDATE: Chris is going to buy these for us.
*****

US citizens will get NASA badges.

We might need access to:

239: Life Sciences building - John's building/plants/greenhouse on roof

245- space science building. Charlie's building.
Brainstorming ideas:
- Ideas on farming

1. Spiral on the building - things slowly go up the building. Lighting, food, etc needed are very different.

2. Robots for harvesting food (i.e. a tractor) - get rid of the people. Crowdsourcing - picking apples via internet.

3. Microfinance model for food production - market failure. People aren't really getting what they need. Microfinance is not being fully utilised. Microfinance incredibly high return necessary - effectively indentured servitude.

4. Making a farming toolkit to be purchased

5. Smart fridge - already exists in Germany. What if the fridge could tell you about the amount of fat you're eating - source it from different places. Tell it what you want in your fridge. Add a label onto food that the fridge recognises. Currently hard to do - Ted Selker was thinking of some way of inventorising the entire larder.

6. Online recipe site including video - contributing own recipes. But does it have potential?

7.
Minimum for today: Decide on production vs consumption

- Production of food in a non-traditional, non-urban environment

- On an individual/de-centralised level, or through community-wide production

- Restaurant or store - nobody doing this

- Community-wide production - selling netting for sides for buildings, vertical farming projects.

- Algae farming in cities -

- Consumption

- Waste of food

- Obesity

- Present food in a certain way - how do you decide
Urban farming

- Would love to have more information about economics

- But past performance is no indicator of future performance (exponentials)

- New GMO and lighting technologies - difficult to measure

- Do an energy audit - how much energy do we need, how much energy do we have.

- Really want to be more convinced.
Planning - explore the urban farming, follow where it leads, if it becomes a dead end we need to be ready to start something else.
Idea: edible packaging

- Removal of waste through edible packaging

http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Packaging/Edible-packaging-seen-as-next-wave-of-innovation

http://www-foodsci.ucdavis.edu/people/faculty/jkrochta
What's our Mission/problem statement:

- First, define the problem space.

- What is the best (most viable) method of growing food in an urban environment

- What is the best scale to do it at.

- Second, prototype - start designing it, start getting it together.

- Then iterate the prototype - experiment.

- Define what is the
- Greenhouse is a parallel process - just some way to get our heads

- Also excellent to have a tangible product
How to research

- Reading on the project

- Focus group in an urban environment - talk to people at the urban grocery

- Ask them what they need.

- 'How much more would you be willing to spend for food'

- Ask people in Oakland where they get their food, how they eat it, etc.
Total budget: $8,000

Working budget: $2,000
Break into work teams - people who work on

1. Greenhouse (Derek/Rand)

2. Focus groups, consumer research / Identify resources and local organisations

(Maggie /Zain)

3. Technology side - scale and tech (Robert/Sam)

4. Microfinance/rollout to neediest/finance/cost barriers (Steve/Anders)

SCRUM - concept of putting to-do lists on post-its. Standing meetings every few hours on post-its.
To Do:

- Wednesday is research day: each of the teams work on their particular projects
JULY 14

Lauren on ETIR -- why each section is important

don't do work that isn't necessary

maximize energy; the next logical step

ETIR (1) opportunity to explore the problem space in a way that makes sense, top level scope, developing more detailed problem statements, identifying solution space, set of specific problems and having solutions that are reasonable to apply to it, everything you need to do to write your detailed plan, reasonable amount of due diligence to make sure that our problem space is the right one, find additional technologies to make sure it is the right problem space


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