espai quirò

back in april we made an open call in hangar to give a workshop. it did not go through cause we didn’t had enough people, but among the people who contact us was M.U.L.A. a beautiful collective project of house sitting, a DIT project made with both human and materials from the surroundings where old buildings are recovered by the people and supported by the proprietaries. we and MULA started to talk of making a workshop on the upper town and for us is great to have a project in this part of barcelona. MULA with other local entities are promoting the use of a vacant allotment where a old clinic (quirò) was taken down. they have an agreement with the city council for 2 years. it’s 3000m2 and more or less half will be available for urban farming. since we can not use the soil we’ll built farm structures with wheels for urban mobility :) apart of building the essential structures: shadow, composers, farm structures, watering systems, a kitchen :) we’ll try to go further this time and one of the tools we will try to implement is the local cartography of raw materials to build soil. we need to select composter systems and recipes to start mapping the leftovers of restaurants, citizens and other specific ingredient to then make the schedule of collecting. some tricks we can made like for example make a dropbox only to egg shells or sea shells. you know.. not only the local gastronomy is deeply connected with different vegetables for different seasons, the compost you can make in a city is also connected like this: here people eat “tortillas” and sea food and this are excellent providers of minerals.

we are starting a local-analog-crowdfunding to this project. check here the poster duna made. we have 3 kinds of farm structures, a starting party with food included and other surprises for the supporters :p you can support this project on selected places, like pepi’s bar, where she will explain to you and in person all the great things about this initiative and if you have time you can also know a little bit more about the neighbor and the surrondings supported by honest food cooked by pepi’s husband and the espai quiro blog webmaster, antonio.

the first design-together starts next sunday. we’ll meet in espai quirò around 11h. see you there ;)

fescamp 2015

this year we were invited by ciclica to give 2 workshops in fescamp. today I came with xavi to give our last workshop. have you ever been here? fescamp is a annual gathering that trough collaborative artistic practices promotes a critical reflection about the city of Sant Cugat del Vallès with focus on environment and sustainability.

we had a great workshop. many people interested in watering systems and e-trash recovering.

hope to see you there next year ;)




barcelona workshop open call and back home :)

has been 6 years and we now return to after studying 15 different cities, different food, different tools and different trash. it’s good to be back home with a workshop program that’s the most comprehensive we’ve done so far. we also have other plans for the other days of the week so if you want to build together your next low budget automated food table just join us if you want to collaborate on the space building or on urban composting you are more then welcome ;)



Getting to know the Wooden Pallets

After some information from Hernani which opened our eyes to the world of wooden pallets, we realized that we were too naive to think that wooden pallets are just some wooden structure..

Wooden pallets can be spotted very easily around the neighborhoods and even in the city of Barcelona. There are a lot of ‘excessive’ wooden pallets that are thrown out on the streets and in the trash.

As a good result wooden pallets are often reused to make new things and it is playing a huge role as a material in the SUFj farm at IaaC. However we have to be very cautious of the selection of wooden pallets to pick up as they will eventually be the home of a lot of plants/food. Some of the wooden pallets have gone through some treatments due to some regulations and some of the treatments involve adding additives which are not desirable for gardening purposes.

I went up to the rooftop and took some snaps of the labels that can be found on the wooden pallets that we previously collected which I’m gonna show below (which some other labels that we don’t have) together with some information that I gathered from the internet :)


SAM_3245The logo on the left side of this label is the most common print found. In the logo there writes ‘IPPC‘ which means ‘International Plant Protection Convention’. This indicates that the wood has been treated by approved measures but doesn’t necessarily mean chemically. If you can’t see an IPPC stamp, it is not recommended for reuse.

On the right side of the label writes ‘HT‘, which means ‘heat treated’. It is a treatment where the wood is heated to the minimum core temperature of the specific to the wood type. There are no chemicals involved in this process this means it’s safe!

The code on top of the HT indicates the country where the pallet was produced and the code of the production. For example ‘PT-1218’ means that it’s produced in Portugal with production code 1218.


SAM_3244The label ‘KD‘ means ‘kiln dried’. This treatment is used to reduce the moisture content of lumber in a controlled environment (a kiln, for example) to reduce warping. Used mainly in the wood furniture and flooring industries. However this treatment can be done in a variety of processes. which means it’s not guaranteed that it’s fully safe.



If it is labeled ‘MB‘, which fortunately we didn’t pick up any, it means that the pallet was fumigated with methyl bromide, a toxic pesticide. Pallet makers are phasing out methyl bromide, but you may still see this mark on some older pallets. Not safe!


SAM_3249The label ‘DB‘ means that the wood was debarked before it’s used to make the pallet. so Phew! means it’s safe!



There are also two pretty commonly seen labels – the ‘EUR‘ and ‘EPAL‘. This means that the pallet is produced in Europe. Europe does not allow chemical treatment but it is only guaranteed fully safe if it is only marked ‘EPAL’. ‘EUR’ is from the old system so you might still want to be careful with it. The best is to find some with the both stamps.


SAM_3253Last but not least! There are some pallets which are labeled with color depending on the company that produced them. Blue pallets are produced by pool CHEP; Red pallets by pool LPR; Brown pallets by pool IPP. It is not advised to use them specially for gardening use as you may find traces of formaldehyde and other resins used in the composite blocks.


There are other labels which I couldn’t find what they mean which I hope do not relate to any treatment of the pallets. If there is any other label that you would like to add please let me know in the comment below so that we can have a more complete list! :)




MACBA lettuces

on the 12th of november I went with sebastian to give a small workshop about transforming e-trash in a automatic watering system. this workshop is inside a wider educational program made by opensystems to the macba museum.

we needed a small farm so that we could implement the watering system but the museum doesn’t have any farm or garden so we decided to design one, prepare all the pieces and build it together. this is the first drawing :)

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so we need a structure that could be easy assembled and we had certain limitations: it must have wheels and it must fit on the museum elevators :)

so here are some pictures of the building process and at the end you have a pdf manual that we made to care and maintenance of the farm. you can also find documentation and the 3Dmodel on the wiki.

IMG_0384 - 2014-11-10 at 17-45-53 IMG_0388 - 2014-11-11 at 13-40-00 IMG_0391 - 2014-11-11 at 14-06-22 IMG_0395 - 2014-11-11 at 15-30-51 IMG_0399 - 2014-11-11 at 15-41-51 IMG_0407 - 2014-11-12 at 09-20-42 IMG_0413 - 2014-11-12 at 15-53-59 IMG_0647 - 2014-11-21 at 12-04-27IMG_2341 - 2015-02-03 at 15-23-47IMG_2344 - 2015-02-03 at 15-24-10IMG_2346 - 2015-02-03 at 15-26-40 IMG_0801 - 2014-11-28 at 13-05-27 IMG_0802 - 2014-11-28 at 13-16-12IMG_0813 - 2014-12-02 at 10-50-25 IMG_0816 - 2014-12-02 at 10-51-27 IMG_1016 - 2014-12-09 at 13-28-27 IMG_1017 - 2014-12-10 at 09-09-36 IMG_1041 - 2014-12-10 at 11-55-58 IMG_1849 - 2015-01-08 at 11-44-13 IMG_1853 - 2015-01-08 at 12-01-47 IMG_1859 - 2015-01-08 at 14-05-16 IMG_1862 - 2015-01-08 at 19-32-09 IMG_1957 - 2015-01-14 at 18-54-21 IMG_1972 - 2015-01-14 at 18-59-47 IMG_2098 - 2015-01-20 at 14-07-06 IMG_2100 - 2015-01-20 at 14-07-44 IMG_2123 - 2015-01-21 at 13-59-06manualMACBA[eng]


refarmthecity wiki link

opensystems blog link

SUFj day#1

SUFj  (Sustainable Urban Food and the j stands for jardin) is a garden team of iaac’s students: Wen, Mar, Sebas, Remita to create a rooftop garden space as a productive learning platform. I’ll be coordinating and we’ll have gatherings and many activities all tuesdays from january to june. this activities can go from helping the construction of farm structures, design objects that improve the circles present: water, food, waste or you can have a drink, a tea, watch a documentary, enjoy of a small jazz concert or take a step and propose something you feel that’s fits :) ok the invitation is done we’ll wait for you ;)

iaac 2015

we’ve good news!! from january to june the SUFj project will development new collaborative works and social happenings for iaac’s rooftop garden. me, wen, mar and sebas will give more news soon but if you wanna join us you are more then welcome. we meet every tuesday from 10h30 > 17h~20h


on our first meeting we talked about what we need to do, what we want to build and logistic details. wen today brought 2 surprises: the companion planting diagram of the plants we already have


and since today we also celebrate that sebas will be on costa rica for 2 months wen, prepared a goodbye-see-you-soon song ;)



day#32 workshop @ iaac

last day for finishig details before the opening party :)

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this was one of the best workshops we had. we spend 4 months together, we visit urban and peri urban farms, we meet great people from scientists, agronomers, biologists, engineers to cookers, separation plant workers and social workers. I hope you guys have enjoyed specially all the 32 meals we made together. it was fun I’ve learn a lot! thanks you all ;)

day#31 workshop @ iaac

another special guest today, surian.

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a first move without the heating dance first and he hurted his back ;( lucky we had our specialist today nestor ;)

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our lunch :)

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at 16h we had to get out of iaac cause there are some rebuilding activities. we took the oportunity to go show valldaura to surian and get some herbs for the farm. ops, you got us.. we are prepearing a party :p next thuesday arround 18h. BYB and enjoy some cold teas at the iaac’s new urban farm ;)

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day#30 workshop @ iaac

today we had a special guest :) loida came and gave us a hand. no corner left to sanding :p

sebas, emilson and guilherme also came. we finish one container and we got 4 more pallets to the roof.

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day#23 workshop @ iaac

the materials for this roftop farm are reclaimed materials. some of them came from the iaac’s warehouse, other from the streets and others from the workshop participans. this constrain of materials makes this chalenge even bigger and delicious. enjoy this process of building together iaac’s roftop farm and if you ave any spare materials please bring to us ;)

check here all iaac posts.

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day#18,19 workshop @ iaac and fab10

apart from materials to make the farm structures we also need some more “tech” parts. today we went to solidança to get pressure switches, flow meters, water valves, water pumps, tubes and surprises that always come with the trash :)

next weekend we were invited to give a small workshop at so we are also colecting extra materials.

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during fab10 Sophie Thomas and Nat Hunter from RSA are also giving a workshop about e-waste and design so we brought some e-waste for them ;)

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we are trying to use 30 wood frames that were used on some iaac exhibition. they are a bit fragile so we designed some blocks to hold them.

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for the fab10 we had to built a seed bank/business cards and a small farm so we went to ateneu de les corts were coda was working in a piece also to fab10.

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using the leftovers of coda we made the farm structure.

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to hold the seed tubes we got a pallet and made the 288 holes with the CNC2014-07-04 at 14-09-45 2014-07-04 at 13-58-01

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after we settle our things in the dhub we went to give a hand to coda team ;)

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on sunday we had the mini workshop in the morning, tks guys for coming ;)

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and in the afternoon we were dangling arround fab10. in the midle we made a small stop and recorded the voice of vicky for the crowdfunding movie. tks vicky and ferran that carefully produced a great sound file ;)
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First week

I just arrived in Barcelona and I will start soon work in the watering system with arduino. Hernani already showed me many things and sent me materials to study and improve my knowledge, so I was “recycling” what I know about electronics and programming, now I’m doing the possible to update and get the system even better. Also, I’m excited for the project’s presentation at FAB10, on the weekend, will be a good opportunity to show the great work that Refarmthecity is doing and to gain more recognition.

day#13, 14 workshop @ iaac

busy day today :)

iaac rooftop

we have defined the form and start taking the materials to the roof.

during the last weeks we started collecting materials that are around us. here are some picture of what we found in and out iaac’s building

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day#12 workshop @ iaac

ok. after 11 days of drinking knowledge and catch some potatoes ;) today we went hands on building the IaaC’s rooftop farm. first we went there and took some measures, look for sum exposition, orientation and imagine the space.


then we went to the street, see what could we find arround the corner. we didn’t had to walk 10 meters. 4 10x10cm pine wood with no treatment just right in front of us :)

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also some wood pallets. we went to a chocolate milk factory tha’s arround he corner to see if they have one of thouse big food grade containers of 1000L. no luck it was closed like.. closed forever :(

then we went again to IaaC materials store. we knew there were many materials what we didn’t knew was how much!!

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after caring some materials and plan how to move everything up we went lunch with a friend of Xavi, Rosa Rull in Palo Alto. what was an old factory of flour and wool is now a huge forrest were the climbers have covered the buildings and there are bushes and trees all over the place. you see bees, people, birds and business all dialoging and their farm is exuberant!!

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what a great lunch (paella nham nham) we had together under the vines, the caper and complemented by indian cress flowers. tks Rosa ;)

1st Bokashi Batch

Hey guys, my bokashi system is more or less operational by now. After two weeks fermenting the papers in plastic bags, I laid them in the sun to dry. There were some air pockets in the plastic bags, which resulted in a few colorful fungi at some spots of the paper (I think Nestor had the same situation).


For the composting tank I found this 8L bucket (including airtight lid), a strainer with a slightly smaller diameter, and plastic drain valve.IMG_1447 As you can see in the picture I already cut off the handle from the strainer, and dented the grid so it fits in a stable manner at the bottom of the the tank.2014-06-01_13-05-26_515Subsequently I made a whole at the bottom and screwed in the valve (optionally you can use some Teflon tape on the thread to make sure there are no leaks).2014-06-07_12-19-57_849So this what my ‘final product’ looks like. Time to start filling it up!

day#11 workshop @ iaac

Today we went to Guilad and Roger’s farm. Uau a organic farm with a view to the sea!!

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Aurora del Camp (farm’s name)”periurban” farmr about 15km from Barcelona El Masnou. They farm about 40 different crops and arround 200 different varieties on 4 hectares of land on the edge of this town. They serve about 200 families directly mostly through consumer groups in Barcelona.

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Their current research revolves around a drastic change in the way most farmers work the land in order to minimize their impact through the use of no-till and reduced tillage systems. The idea is to sequester carbon while lowering their overall ecological footprint. yes, even organic farmers have quite a large ecologic impact. They are currently running an experiment on about 2000m2 with the IRTA

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We arrived and Guilad gave us a lecture about their work, local conditions, their calendar crops and the problems theiy have been trough. you know, bugs, bureaucracy and this constantly improve that means how can agriculture become a sustainable human activity.2014-06-05 at 13-59-40

After we went harvest some potatoes :)

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you know has always we eat great at our workshops and today was no exception ;) Gilad socked some chickpeas, Amina and Nestor prepared the onions, added tomatoes some spicies and voila, let you eyes enjoy this next picture :)

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there was more, home made bread, carob cake.. ok I’l stop here. we then when to visit the upfarm crops and where the boxes are prepeared for customers.

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we catch the train to barcelona with a full day for our bellys, muscules and minds. Thanks Gilad and Roger for welcomed us so great, and congratulations! you guys have a beautiful and carefully treated corner of the planet . We’ll definitely visit you soon ;)

day#10 workshop @ iaac

today we went again on a tour for materials. in our workshops it’s always this exercise: find materials around you that are suitable to make urban farms. we have our expectations very high :) we are going to visit 2 big recycling plants. one of electronics and televisions and another of cooling devices.

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first stop was all the electronic trash from cataluña ends here. well, not all, someone said only 20% it’s recycled, the other 80% you know were it ends don’t you? link1 link2 even 25 years after the basel convection as been signed.. sad human history, recent history we should say..

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judith received us and presented a video of the factory plant and what do they recycle. they separate all the e-waste in 10 different categories. they separate by hand what they can: plastic, metal, batteries, toner, electronic boards, capacitors, motors, glass, cry tubes and smoke detectors!! they have Americium.

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after all the trash go trough workers that try to disassembled as much as they can, goes to rolling belt were CRT, batteries and toners are removed. after everything is crushed and goes to the second flour were magnets catch ferrous metals and strainers separate by size. another 4 people separate aluminum and plastics and what’s left is further crashed. all the powder is sucked by a big vacuum machine and is threated as a toxic waste that need further treatment on another plant, strangely no one uses APM (Atmospheric Particulate Matter) protection!

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the crt tubes (tv, computer monitors,… ) have so many hazardous and different materials that they go to a different machine. after taking the plastic case (200 different screws on 200 different brands and models. we should improve design for disassembly ASAP!!) they separate the electron bomb and the copper coil. the gently (on industrial speech) break the cone from the flat part of the screen. here they vacuum the fosforos powder. 150g per screen. the cone part has lead. apparently protecting us from radiation generated on the beamer. this is a common argument, the safety of some materials is justified in a small part of the object livecycle, that after is useful live becomes a major environmental problem. in electrorecycling this lead glass is crushed and selled as a raw material for tiles. just encapsulating this contaminant :)

this always have been a main concert for us in refarmthecity. we have said no to many sensors just cause they don’t comply the RoHS standards. even the RoHS, we should say, are not very ambicious. we must design and produce electronics for the farms that even if forgotten or left abandon do not cause any future environmental problem.

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back to the trash :) we then turn the corner and went to the cooling plant. over the last weeks the fridges have been a regular visitor on our crazy plans for the iaac urban  farm. but today all those drawings just freeze :) we were thinking on using the fridges as containers. we knew that there is a “problem” with the gas contained but we though after it’s been treated is no longer a dangerous residue. wrong! 20% to the CFC gas (or hidrocarburant gas) is on the freezing circuit, 80% is on the foam!!
so were they make a hole on the motor and extract oil and gas. them they crush the hole fridge and separate (try!) the metal from the isolation foam. then they squeeze the foam and extract the gas. except the metal everything is burned to archive chemical seems that older fridges used cork has a isolation material but they had also a very low energy efficiency.

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we need to go back again to the materials list. wood and fruit pallets are already common design solutions but maybe in solidança we can use other materials like washing machine metallic cylinders and clothes. that’s our job for the next 5 weeks ;)

then we made a tour to the beautiful rural landscape, visiting rocafort and mura. we continue to draw and think about iaac’s rooftop farm and went lunch on a nice vegan restaurant in terraza.

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reward of the day was listening wen on the piano ;) amazing!! thank you wen hehe

day#9 workshop @ iaac

today we started our two days tour over barcelona city trash. first stop: Solidança 2014-05-22 at 13-42-24 on our workshops we always have this idea of building with what’s available and every city has their own trash dinamics and trash resources. and barcelona would not be different. Talking with Isabel Gimeno from Solidança we both aggre that after joining EU there was a big efford on regulate the trash and since then we have a strong environmental protection policy and a cultural conscience started to grip. I’m a caver since 14 and I’ve saw many weels and deep caves filled with all sort of trash: cars, medicines, sick cattle, cloth, batteries, electronics, house and industrial sewage, just to name the ones you can quikly identify.. me and caves al over the world have spend incontless hours cleaning this mess many times preventing or at least reduce the inevitable water contamination that occours with this human behaviors. lucky in recent years we don’t see has many trash on the caves and generaly dumped next to a river flow. we have became cleaner in europe but we still have many unresolved problems: stuff that is impossible to reuse or recycle, lack of design for disassembling or designed to be imposible to repair, over consumering etc 2014-05-22 at 13-34-10 Solidança, apart of managing 4 big collection centers, brings new value and meaning to coth, electronics and house appliances. Solidança also has a strong social commitment. giving workshops of waste managment, electronics and electrical appliances reparation, gender equalty, new tecnologies, social competences, etc. 2014-05-22 at 16-29-21 Solidança also reseaches new protocols and systems with this idea in mind: work to reduce poverty and protect the environment. 2014-05-22 at 14-40-27 we were warmly recived by Miquel Caballé and Isabel Gimeno who gave us a quick tour and a long chat :) 2014-05-22 at 14-01-38 2014-05-22 at 15-02-00 2014-05-22 at 15-06-28 we then went strait to what was waiting for us: 60 washing machines. 2014-05-22 at 14-44-45 2014-05-22 at 14-52-38 2014-05-22 at 14-58-52 2014-05-22 at 14-58-57 2014-05-22 at 15-47-04 2014-05-22 at 16-07-12 and this is the final result: 6 pressure switches, 2 water pumps, 6 electro-valves, 1 flowmeter!! and several other things to you know.. hack :) we ended the day with Merce Jara (tks for all ;) with a suprising tour to l’Hort Fort Pienc. 2014-05-22 at 18-46-10 2014-05-22 at 18-46-56 2014-05-22 at 18-47-00

day#8 workshop @ iaac

the day started at la boqueria market. since is a market I already know I quickly walk through all the fuzzy first stores full of tropical and expensive food and go strait to the end of the market where I find season food and the lowest prices downtown. (uff sorry my english today :)

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today we are reviewing this diagram.

RFTC watering diagram

study every component cause next week we go scavenging :)

has always, today we had some recepies to share and feed our selfs. straberry living pie and bread.

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paper Bokashi

Again I missed another gathering (a bit busy these days). However, my bacteria are still up and running!! I didn’t take a picture of the serum with milk after two weeks, but basically it was a slightly cloudy liquid with big white cheese floating on top. Yesterday I separated the serum and added some molasses. As a carrier, I found some brown wrapping paper, which I drowned in the serum. Subsequently I put these wet papers (about 6 layers) in a plastic bag, sealed it, and now it should ferment another two weeks.2014-05-13_09-08-34_273

Since ‘tortilla’ is made in our kitchen on a weekly basis, I though the remaining egg shells could serve as a good calcium source (also mentioned by Mathew some weeks ago). To speed-up the degradation rate, I dry and grind them by using a (very) basic pepper mill, which works pretty well.2014-04-14_15-21-37_348

After a while I realised it’s quite labour intensive, so I’m wondering how many egg shells you need before you see a significant calcium increase in your compost.

day#7 workshop @ iaac

strange day today :) we started with a power faillure at IaaC from a unknown source and was until 12:30 that the energy mysteriously appeard. lucky the lactobacillus preparation does not require external energy ;)

so today we finish the bokashi process.

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we filtered the serum with coffee filters

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we prepared the molasses 1 part of brown sugar and 3 parts of mineral water

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then we added  one part of molasses, 6 parts of mineral water and one part of serum

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then we soaked kraft paper with the mixture and let it rest for 10 min.

we finish the process by putting the soked paper in frezzer bags and let it rest for 2 more weeks on a dark and fresh place. the bokashi paper is now ready. after this 2 weeks we will leave it dry and it’s ready :)

day#6 workshop @ iaac

today we had 3D day.

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we made some small adapters for the bokashi bucket. next week better pictures and the stl files ;)

we also talked about the roof structure. It was a nice brainstorming let’s see if we can get the materials needed ;)