Come visit me today as I demonstrate and answer questions about the Green Living Technologies vertical garden at Hart’s Local Grocers at 10 Winthrop Street in Rochester, NY right behind the famed Little Theater. I will be there from 10 until 2 answering any questions you might have about vertical agriculture, green walls, green roofs, and any other question you might have about urban agriculture.
There’s always a reason to start a garden. Whether it’s an act of dissent, a step toward sustainability, or to simply put your fingers through the soil, there’s always a reason to start a garden.
My garden is more than where I grow my food. My garden is where I release my anger, my sadness, my struggles, and my pain. It allows me to live in the present, to see the world, or at my little piece of it as it is, beautiful. It’s my zen.
“If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” – Maurice Maeterlinck, The Life of Bees
Michelle and I love bees. In fact, Michelle gets so excited watching the bees, you would think she was still a child.
Unfortunately, between a cold winter and colony collapse, we don’t see nearly as many bees as we once had. I remember watching bees by the hundreds scattered across the yard buzzing from one clover flower to the next. We had to watch our step when walking across the lawn, as you never knew when you were about to step on a bee and get the sting of a lifetime.
Last year, we had tons of bees working every flower of every plant in the garden. Even in the raspberries and pears, you couldn’t look at a flower without watching a honeybee in action. Though we have countless bumblebees, they’re overall population has dropped dramatically, as well.
Michelle and I have decided to invest in a hive or two for next year. We know there’s a lot of work involved, but we’re ready to do what we think is necessary for the food system.
What do you think about bees?
I can’t tell you how happy I am with the productivity of the Green Living Technologies International LLC green wall. This is proof that anyone can grow healthy food despite a lack of space. Imagine these on balconies and along the streets in crowded cities like New York, Chicago, and LA. Imagine people who have never had the opportunity to grow their own food due to a lack of space, can now simply walk up to their green wall and pick a tomato or lettuce.
Growing vertically is one of the fastest growing methods of gardening around the world today. With a global population of 7.23 billion people which growing at a rate of 228,000 per day, we’re losing the necessary arable land needed to sustain such population growth. Our only options are to grow up. Along the sides of buildings, in homes, or even in warehouses, vertical could very well be the way we are all gardening in the future.
As you can see from the pictures, I’m growing tomatoes, peppers, herbs, acorn squash (which should be flowering soon), and leafy greens. I have another panel growing Swiss Chard and strawberries!
I don’t know what you think when you look at your garden, but wen I walk into mine, I see freedom. Freedom from the ever present influence of the corporate culture in which America has been dominated and crushed by. I see freedom to live as I wish, without worrying about what this company put into their food or what this other company does with the money I give them. I see freedom from the almost almighty dollar. I say almost almighty, as in our home, we work hard to takes its power away. In our home, though
we’re not wealthy by any standards, we work hard to keep it nothing more than an afterthought. I see our garden as much our home as the house, itself. Where Michelle and I spend a little time together every day caring for the plants, which in return will give us food. I see the garden as a perfect representation of myself. From a distance, perfect and orderly, but up close…
Our garden has become an example to our community that it can be done. We’re able to not only feed ourselves, but share what we have with our friends and family. We have raised beds and green walls. Fruit trees and berry bushes. The children in the neighborhood stop by to see and learn where their food comes from. Our garden shows that anyone, despite income or perceived class, can grow their own food. If not all, at least some.
How do you see your garden? What do you grow? What is its inspiration?
Over the past few years, there has been a battle over the safety of genetically modified organisms, or GMO. Though there has been progress in public education and labeling, it has been slow. As much as I would love to go into why GMO is morally and ethically wrong, I’m preaching to the choir. I’m focused on a different battle within the same war. The language.
The truth of the matter is that the companies who develop the GMO products have us by the proverbial balls. In labeling the products GMO, that gives them the freedom to fire back with an argument that’s, quite frankly, hard to come back from. Their argument is that GMO happens in nature. Though I find it funny that a bunch of people who generally don’t believe in evolution would use this as an argument, it’s a solid one. Nature does indeed have the ability to modify anything in order to ensure its survival. Simple evolution.
I propose that we change our language. Instead of the term ‘GMO’ or ‘Genetically Modified’, we need to be using the term ‘Genetically Engineered’. This is a term that implies that the product was created by man rather by nature.
As always, I stand by my belief that we have the right to know what we are eating. I stand by my belief that knowing what we’re eating is a basic human right and that labeling is the moral and ethical solution, but we first need to change our language.
I’m sure some of you have noticed the pictures of the GLTi green wall posted in the last post. I’m sure some of you wonder where I get it, how it works, and how it can benefit you.
Okay, well, you’re looking at a Green Living Technologies living wall. It’s made of stainless steel with an aluminum frame. In other words, it’s built to last. Mine has been through hell and back and still works as well as it did the day it was first used. We have been able to grow many times the amount of tomatoes, peppers, greens, herbs, beets, and anything else you could ever imagine in just a fraction of the footprint, using just a fraction of the resources. Using soil, I have been very successful in growing without the use of any chemical except for organic fish emulsion in which I only used in the very beginning.
This is going to revolutionize urban agriculture as we know it. For many people who don’t have have the space to grow a full garden, all you need is a few feet or a space on your wall. Maximum production with minimal space.
Once you’ve seen it up close and personal, it will blow your mind.
Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have involving growing vertically or the panels at email@example.com
Right now, we’re growing tomatoes, peppers, thyme, squash, marigolds, and greens. Everything you need to make dinner.
Of all the tasks and all the hobbies one might take up in a lifetime, few require the patience of a garden, but for those who have the patience, the rewards are seemingly endless.
This is our garden. Our Tiny Earth Urban Farm. I know, there are people out there who have bigger gardens, produce more food, and even have animals and bees, but for our needs, we’re doing just fine. With a production of roughly 60 pounds of food per week in the summer months, we’ve been able to cut our grocery bills to a mere fraction of what they were in the winter and spring months. For us, this is our 1/8 of an acre bit of heaven.
For those of you who are new to Our Tiny Earth and for those of you who have been with us since the very beginning, I would like to say welcome, once again. My name is Scott Wischmeyer and this is Our Tiny Earth. I guess you could say that this is a new beginning of sorts. I made the decision to start all over again from scratch, as I feel that I’ve been losing focus on what it’s really about and what I would like to bring you. Nothing but the best for my readers!
Who am I? Well, my name is Scott Wischmeyer. I have a background in traditional, hydroponic, and vertical agriculture and have dabbled in rooftop as well as aquaponics. I’ve worked with the biggest names in the business and have shaken hands everyone else. My mission is to obtain some sort of sustainable presence within an urban environment as a way to prove that it could be done.
Michelle and I live in the sunny tropical paradise of Rochester, NY. We garden, we cook, we eat, and we travel all over the country learning about what they’re doing, what they’re eating, and how we can mimic what they’re doing on our own little 1/8 of an acre plot of land, which we call Our Tiny Earth Urban Farm.
Over the next couple years, I’m going to tell you about everything from growing vegetables vertically, to why I can’t call Our Tiny Earth what it really is because of a greedy greenwashing family in Los Angeles. I’m going to introduce you to the people who have made urban ag what it is today, and where it’s going to be tomorrow.
Thank you for finding Our Tiny Earth. Get comfortable, this is going to be a long ride.
Okay, so there’s a bit of a stigma attached to coming out. I know that in certain circles, just the mere mention that you might partake in this particular lifestyle leaves you open to judgment from older or more xenophobic people within your community. The truth is, we’ve all experimented at one time of our lives or another and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. What you put in your mouth is your business.
No one ever said it was easy being a foodie. Hell, a friend of mine claims that the word, itself, implies a certain level of douche-baggery. But then, there are others who wear the term on their sleeves as a medal of honor. Something to take pride in and even heavily recruit for.
For the lack of a better word, I am a foodie. I know, coming out of the closet like that could have some serious repercussions, but
the fact of the matter is, I’ve known I was a foodie since I was little, but was ashamed to come out. Coming from a family who relished in bland, tasteless food, I knew deep within my heart that I would never be completely accepted if I did come out. But, seriously, who was I kidding. I couldn’t hide it. Sneaking off late at night for sushi and ordering anything that was covered in one kind of fish roe or another. Finding the subtle differences between the same varieties of carrots grown by two different farms 40 miles away from each other. Seeing the Garbage Plate for what it really is, a cultural icon, not just something to draw in tourists (I’m looking at you, Philly Cheese Steak). Yes, you heard that right, I am a foodie.
If you were to ask 100 different people what defines a foodie, you’re going to get 100 different answers. For some it’s something negative, but for others, its something deeper, almost personal.
For me, the only thing in my life more personal than than the food I eat, is my lady, Michelle, and even then, I did leave her for a cupcake once in Oregon. Yeah, a cupcake, and yes, I know cupcakes are a fad that need to leave quickly. Luckily she took me back after a stroll among the naked hippies and flower children.
I know I might be stepping on some toes, but there is nothing in the world, past or present that has the ability, including art, music, or even language, to define not only a culture, but a family, quite like food. My family may not speak German any longer and sure as hell can’t hold a tune, but you can bet your ass my mother is still making maultaschen and I look forward to making it and passing the recipe to my nephew Ethan when he’s old enough to get off his ass and cook (he’s a month old. Times a-tickin’).
Though there are quite a few similarities, being a food snob isn’t really the same thing as being a food snob or a gourmet, in my
opinion. Yes, I do prefer better, locally sourced ingredients, we do tend to lose all professional etiquette and turn into kids in a candy store when a slab of pork belly is placed in front of us, but I also get the same joy from a Zweigle’s White Hot or a pile of hash browns, chorizo and poached eggs loaded onto my plate smiling at me as if to say ‘Good Morning’. A foodie does not discriminate. If the food gives me the feeling I’m after, I go for it. Am I going to stop eating Tasty Cakes from Philly just because I have no idea what half of the shit in there is? Hell no! Tasty Cakes bring me back to a time and people I remember fondly when our company CO when I was in the Army would have them sent from his sister in Philly. Am I going to stop eating Garbage Plates just because I know it will probably kill me at some point? Well, as Michelle’s Uncle Sloppy says, ‘To eat is to live and to live is to eat”.
For me, eating is about new experiences. It’s about getting to know a city, a culture, a community, or a person on a more intimate level. For a foodie, what we eat shouldn’t be taken for granted. Though there might be the aisles of labels and logos you might be familiar with, its important to step out of your comfort zone from time to time. Learn about new tastes and where they come from. Let every time you eat become a learning experience. Keep trying new things, for with every bite, you’re keeping a culture alive.
This is the prototype vertical farm created by George Irwin, the founder and President of Green Living Technologies, using his patented green walls. I am partnering with George to build a network of vertical farms as a way to bring access to fresh and nutritious food to low income communities and food deserts. Vertical panels can also be purchased by restaurants and grocers to bring the freshest quality food into the kitchens. The panels also offer a great source of marketing. They show the customer that there is a commitment fresh and locally grown food in every dish served.
Yes, I know the camera angle is wrong.
We are able to grow anything from nightshades to brassicas to herbs and spices. We’ve had success with greens and root veggies as well. Right now, we’re working on growing several varieties of mushrooms.
If you’re in the Rochester, NY area and are looking to display a beautiful edible or ornamental living wall in your restaurant or grocery store, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I found this infographic at dailyinfographic.com and thought you would all like it as much as I did. If not, I’m terribly sorry.
We all try to do something no one has ever done before and to do it better than anyone will ever do it again. I know there’s a snippet of ego in there, but without the ego, we would never experience what life is like beyond mediocrity.
Like any athlete or musician, a gardener is always working to hone his or her own skills. We’re in constant battle with ourselves, as our inner selves are often pushing us to give up or to simply be satisfied with where we are and to just maintain. We strive for perfection while fully understanding that perfection is nothing more than a myth. We see chemicals such as Miracle Grow and Round up like an athlete sees performance enhancing drugs. Sure you might be bigger and cross the finish line faster, but you’re lacking in heart and to the true believer, you will always be a cheater.
Gardening is far more than just growing food. Gardening is being a part of something greater than yourself. Gardening is a part of the human cycle. A tradition we have followed closely and continued with the most basic of techniques, which binds us with out earliest ancestors and to the Earth, itself.
…And then there are those of us who proudly stand at the forefront of technology. Armed with vertical living walls made of the latest and greatest of aircraft quality materials, we’re able to grow the same amount of food vertically on only a fraction of the footprint we would with a raised bed. We engineer and create new methods of introducing our gardens to all natural fertilizers such as fish emulsion, kelp, or compost tea. We find ways to extend out growing season by recreating our gardens indoors or by utilizing small green houses or row covers made with PVC and stainless steel brackets.
We’re an innovative breed.
I can say that I’m proud of my garden. I’m proud of the few victories I’ve had, as I’m proud of the mistakes in which I’ve made. We’ll grow together. As I learn, it will improve. I know I have a long way to go, but my garden isn’t going to judge me, nor will it ever turn its back on me. It’s now a part of me, only to improve with age.
They call us gardeners, urban farmers, growers, horticulturalist, and homesteaders, but we’re simply humans who desperately want to make it all better.
From sea to shining sea, natural gas has made the news more than Britney Spears and Justin Beiber combined. Seriously, I did the Google Fight. With all this press and all the signs calling for its ban on every corner in my neighborhood, I had to do my research. Yes, I know I said I would keep away from writing about subjects that have the potential to put me in the hot seat, but I have to do what I have to do.
The natural gas industry has made a lot of claims about the substance. They say that it’s the answer to all of our energy needs and that it’s the new clean answer to coal and petroleum. Like Duffman, the Natural Gas industry says a lot of things, I think it;s a good time for us to sit back and look at the truth about natural gas from both sides.
- Natural Gas produces 21% of the worlds power
- Natural Gas is now the number one power source in America beating coal for the first time in July 2012
- Natural Gas produces little soot, verifying the clean-burning claim
- Emits 45% less CO2 than coal and 35% less CO2 than oil
- There is an abundant supply. The DOE estimate roughly 1.2 trillion barrels in American soil
- Can be used in manufacturing of plastics ,fertilizers ,and other chemicals
- Can be used for transportation
- No waste
- Employs 1.2 million people around the world
- Far better for cooking than electric
- A non-renewable resource. Though there is a lot, it’s not sustainable in the long run
- Though it emits less CO2 than coal or petroleum, still emits millions of tons per year
- 85-95% methane, which is among the most potent of greenhouse gasses
- Requires extensive pipelines to deliver
- The biggest dangers are in the extraction process
- Water pollution due to chemical runoff from fracking sites. In 2011, tests of water supplies, such as one in particular in Wyoming, show that drinking water has been tainted by fracturing chemicals, leaving the water unfit for consumption
- Companies are not required to show which chemicals are used in fracking
- Water can also be mixed with other ground toxins, such as arsenic do to the fracturing of shale
- GHG footprint in shale is greater than that of coal
- Fracking has been linked to earthquakes caused by the weakening of supporting shale
- Gas ends up in drinking water leading to highly flammable water
- Fracking uses huge amounts of water, which are already in short supply
- Runoff destroys millions of acres of farmland rendering it useless, depleting our food supply and taking farmers out of business
Well, there are certainly are good arguments on both sides of the coin. For the most part, natural gas would be a very viable resource if it wasn’t for the extraction process. Unfortunately, there is far too much risk. Though there are some strong and valid arguments on the side for natural gas, I do not believe that there is enough value to anything to destroy the Earth to get it. I’ll just wait for the sun.