Veracruz Day#2

First real day of work today… Good to have a clear idea of what we are going to be doing in the next 2 weeks, to bring out all the doubts, have a resolution to the doubts, have more doubts arise and more solutions… that for me is what this lab is all about, a group of people from different backgrounds coming together and working together on a singular project, each person with their expertise bringing up more questions and then coming up with the answers themselves.

Today we defined what the objectives for the next 10 days will be. Who is going to be doing what. Brainstorming. What things can we add to the project, what things should we take out. Debating. Defining. Clarifying. 2014-11-24 19.31.42

We have Tania, Lucia and Marcos working on the programming of the APP and Questionnaire as well as looking at different options for mapping.
Bris and Daniela are looking at plants as bioindicators/context indicators.
Karla and Alaide researching traditional and DIY soil tests.
Jorge is our chemical genius and he’s preparing everything for our chromatography tests that hopefully we’ll get done on Thursday.

It is a relief to be started, to have our goals set and to know what we are working towards.
Tomorrow we’ll continue with the work we started today, really define what tests we are going to do when we visit a future urban farm on Wednesday with the lovely folks from the Laboratorio Urbano Boca del Rio.

Veracruz Day #1

First full day at the Citizen Science lab in Veracruz today.

After four days scouting around the city for urban gardens it was great to arrive to the hotel yesterday where all the attendees were staying and meet the people that we are going to be working with over the next 12 days.

There was the obligatory welcome cocktail (piña colada, we are in Mexico of course) and then it was time to mingle. It really is amazing to be among people from so many countries with so many big ideas…

Official Day#1 at the lab started with buses taking us to the brand spanking new Biblioteca Digital TELMEX. This place is amazing. Huge. White. Light.
It’s in the middle of a recently built shopping mall and the shopping mall is in the middle of… nothing… literally it is a shopping mall surrounded by empty land. Soon to be built into a new city. But first comes the most important things… the ralph lauren store… the sketchers store… the apple store….right?????

And here is where we introduce the team for the next two weeks (well in the photo we’re missing Lucia, but I’m sure she’ll appear later on…)
2014-11-23 16.53.24We have a really multidisciplinary team with backgrounds ranging from Biology to Soil Science to Computer programming to Architecture to Chemistry to Electrical Circuits to Traditional Mexican dance and song to Mapping to Permaculture to Environmental Engineering to…. All I can say is that I’m stoked. I am excited to think about all the things that we are going to learn from each other in the coming weeks. Thanks to Alaide, Brisceida, Karla, Tania, Daniela, Marcos, Jorge and Lucia for giving up their time to come and help us move this project forward.

Tomorrow will be when we really knuckle down and work out what we want to achieve from the next two weeks. A “critical session” with our two mentors Felipe and Cinthia will help us focus our efforts.

Till then… a photo of our work space in the la Biblioteca Digital Telmex Veracruz2014-11-24 01.30.40

Collaborators for Mexico!

This week the group of people that are going to be helping us develop our Soil, Food and the City project at the Medialab Prado workshop in Veracruz was chosen.

You can check out who is heading to Mexico for all the different projects here.

We can’t wait to meet this group and start sharing ideas!

We’re also going to start trying out different protocols to have an idea of what works and what doesn’t before we arrive to the lab!

BJDW day#4

yeah… last night the air was more clean.. 113 city average.. this days have between 200 and 300.. this is not a nice place to live. not only humans but the hole city’s ecosystem is suffering.

IMG_3455

details, for some the above for us the below picture :p

IMG_3435

we have to make a lot of holes to the seed bank so we “invented” a gadget to help us on making all the holes vertical and equally distant.

IMG_3436 IMG_3438

IMG_20140921_105608

IMG_3441

brasilian time to rest ;)

IMG_3443

here is the nice poster that re-up made for our bjdw colaboration ;)

IMG_3452

now the teas. for us this design week is an oportunity for people to come and see how easy is to make funcional structures. here is a detail on how can you store teas and spices and have hand available.

IMG_3453

Laboratorio Iberoamericano de Innovación Ciudadana.

Good news this week; Our project “Soil, Food and the City” (“Suelo, Ciudad y Alimento“) was one of ten projects selected from around the world to be developed at the MediaLab Prado Citizen Innovation workshop to be held in Veracruz, Mexico, in November.

The objective of this project is to create a low-cost tool that we can use to evaluate the quality of soil in an urban setting. With this tool we’ll be able to map empty lots in the city which have the potential to be used to grow food, with the end goal of achieving food sovereignty and security.

To create this global picture of urban soil quality we’ll conduct various tests. These tests would be conventially divided into three ‘boxes’ or subsets of tests, each with its peculiarities and advantages. The kits consist of affordable and sufficiently qualitative tests for the assessment of soil properties in urban and peri-urban sites. The complementary nature of each test will help citizens and scientists to gain an overall understanding of soil health and processes.

So if you think you’d be interesting in helping us develop this project, or to learn more about the workshops as a whole check out the collaborators page here.

2014 beijing design week

recently the refarm group of barcelona was invited to participate on the beijing design week by the barcelona 2014 BJDW guest city program. we are going to make a showcase of our tools for urban farmers and make several DIY and DIT workshops.

the idea is to implement, on an existing house, the cicles of nutrients, water and energy along with farm structures and electronic tools that allow in-house food production. three of our members (hernani, emilson and guilherme, will fly from 15 september to 5 of octuber.

stay tunned, next week we’ll open a call for colaborators to help us on the building process of this exhibition.

more news soon, but if you are on the area please join us, we need you ;)

mediaLab Prado: Laboratorio Iberoamericano de Innovación Ciudadana

This week we’ve sent off a project that we hope will be included in the MediaLab Prado “citizen innovation” workshops that will be held in late November in Veracruz, Mexico.

Our project relates to soil health in urban and peri-urban areas and how ordinary citizens around the world can learn more about their soil, its processes, what it contains, and even how to improve it using open source tools. Click the pic below to read more about the workshop.

We’ll know if we will be on our way to Mexico in the first week of September, so until then, fingers crossed as we tend to the veggie garden!

 

500_0

Citizen science?

Currently there is a huge divide between the “scientific” world and the general public. The responsibility to protect and preserve our natural environment as well as to maintain our food security has been placed in the hands of too few people. And unfortunately it is way to common for these people to have political pressures to act in one way or another, and not always in the best interest of the general public. These figures too often bow down to big businesses and money. You only have to look at how many corruption cases are being held around the world involving political figures or people meant to be representing “our” best interests.

So what about citizen science? This is something that is meant to bridge the gap between politicians, those guys in white labcoats sitting behind a microscope, and you, a citizen of the world. Through citizen science, we can have millions of individuals, trained to observe and record, collecting data from all over the globe. The information gained through citizens world wide looking at what is happening in their backyard creates “study sites” in many more places than would ever be possible by just scientists alone. And it connects us back into a system in which we NEED to take more responsibility.

Work at IAAC’s rooftop

Currently is being kept an automatic irrigation system on IAAC’s rooftop. It’s a basic version that stores data in the Arduino, how often and how much time it was on. The basic components are: a switch by pressure, an Arduino and a valve to water control.

The next step will be build one that also measure flow, temperature and humidity, and maybe use a memory card adapter, if the data isn’t monitored in real-time.

The code is ready and the system is in construction, just missing a few pieces. It will be ready soon.

This system will be in the garden that is being constructed there too, big part of the structure that will keep the garden is ready. We were (and still are) working hard, cutting and fitting pieces of wood to be the best possible.

2014-07-18 16.44.20 2014-07-18 16.46.20 2014-07-18 16.44.59 2014-07-02 14.49.23 2014-07-02 14.48.292014-07-11 at 14-01-14

FAB10 Experience

This event happened in Barcelona, one of the bigger event that I ever participate, where I could learn and share a lot of information, meet some people, good contacts, specially from other FABLABs, including  one from Belém (Brasil), is where I live there. Also, I participated of some interesting workshops, one about construction of a 3D printer with a lot of materials from eletronic waste and other about Arduino, “SmartCItizen” and “Hands on Wireless Sensor Network”.

The Refarmthecity also has presented a workshop about the automatic irrigation system, the objective was tell people how to make one, learn how to build themselves, what is important about it, equipments, components and the cost (lowcost). Besides some problems with the FAB 10 the objective was accomplished, we presented the idea and made people get interested about it.

2014-07-06 18.13.29 2014-07-06 17.28.02 2014-07-05 15.08.532014-07-05 16.07.13

- iaac labour sunny days

Looking foward to seeing the whole structure allover together!

1

After conceiving the wooden structure that will support the roof garden with the archictectural help :P of Nestor and Xavi, we passed to the action.

2

33

We already have it in a more advanced state – things are evolving quite well… next step: chosing the species that will be growing in the raised garden beds :)

Pão dos Essênios

‘Com va això?’

New expressions, ‘same thoughts’ (would we classifie it like that since it’s a matter of language ?¿?¿)!

Considering this major food struggle we’ve been living, sovereignety, autonomy and empowerment are crucial… saying no to some things, but mostly saying ‘yes’ as a creative and positive way of developing others :) Reappropriate some skills, knowledge and techniques, and leaving the place to ‘new’ (ancient knowlodge) ones.

Essens (sprouted grain) bread is a nice way of illustrating that point of view. Wheat grains and sunlight is all we need :)

germinando

Germinate your grains

trituramor

crush them,

triturado

until you’ll get a modulable pasta.

modelando 2

Then just let the sunshine works and enjoy :)

final

Referência para meus amigos lusofonos :)
http://panelasdecapim.blogspot.com.es/2013/04/pao-dos-essenios.html#.U-AuuqMYCW9

 

water valve and algae

something was wrong during the last days.. and suddenly we water valve is always on but there is no water flowing..

first inspection:

2014-07-25 at 18-32-39

opening:

2014-07-25 at 18-34-32

don’t forget to cover your water valves from light, algae loves this places  ;)

Incredibles Edibles

Sharing a brief explanation about this concept that emerged at Todmorden, England.

An example of collective effort and cooperation in order to support a local, adapted and resilient production of food. Low input and autonomous network attaining food sovereignty by growing food at open, public spots, enabling citizens to meet their needs. Harvest freely, spread the concept and give yourself over to help :)

‘Go on, take some. It’s free’ :)) Mangez local!

Mauvaises Herbes

When food sovereignty is a major task, we should think about holistic, practical and accessible solutions as …

DSCF4179

… jogging?!?! Juste take a look more carefully… as with many other stuff, it’s always a matter of perspective. At the bottom of the foreground we see weed, weed and still weed. Looks like an ugly abandoned garden. At first we think about just cutting it off without hesitating, so that other decorative species could take its place. This rugby field is 5mn from my place, where i can also find this beautiful buckhorn plantain ready to be harvested :))

DSCF4176

With appropriated instructions and a good manual, cooking weeds becomes pleasant and addictive :p

DSCF4181

No more than 15mn later and voilà!

DSCF4182

We see coquelicot (Papaver rhoeas), plantain lanceolé (Plantago lanceolata) – the most common traditionally used wild medicinal plant since the Antiquity -, trèfle des près (Trifolium pratense), passerage des champs (Lepidium campestre), achillé millefeuille (Achillea millefolium), petite camomile (Matricaria recutica), and the seventh one i wans’t able to determine. Otherwise i wasn’t that sure about my diagnoses concerning Achillea and Matricaria neither. For the first i had an eternal doubt with another specimen of the Apiaceae (some are really toxic) and the second one wasn’t really in a gooood state – so i didn’t cook them ;/

It’s hugely important to keep some instructions in mind when harvesting weeds! Assuring the diagnose is one of the most important ones, but neglecting the environment and pillage of the spot are as well crucial mistakes.

See more here (for french speakers) http://www.lavisdesplantes.fr/erreurs-eviter-cueillette/

Finally, a really diverse and nutritive meal with Fabaceae, Brassicaceae, Papaveraceae, Asteraceae, Plantaginaceae and Solanaceae (tomatos) :))

DSCF4184

Mentioning briefly, we could list some benefits provided by this specimens such as headache and toothache prevention, anti-inflammatory properties, purgative and digestive action, gingivitis prevention, sedative and analgesic properties, and so on…


Why the renewed interest in Edible Weeds? Beacause they are:

1. Abundant – they grow everywhere;
2. Free – just find and pick them (taking care about the spot conditions and plant’s state);
3. Easy – they grow without any effort from you;
4. Nutritious – many are more nutritious than specimens you grow on your own veggie patch :);
5. Taste great!;
6. Many of these species have been eaten or used for their medicial properties for thousands of years. In many countries some are still considered delicacies today!

Read more:

http://www.localharvest.org.au/learn/introduction-to-edible-weeds/
http://www.incredible-edible.info/?p=2512#more-2512 (GREAT one)
http://www.mauvaisesherbes.org/f1-les-plantes-sauvages-comestibles (good catalogue, in french)
http://www.edibleweeds.com.au/edible-weeds/facts/

 

Olá Salut Hola Hallo Ciao Hi Nǐ hǎo

Cheers :)

It’s been a while now since i knew about Refarm, thanks to Surian! :) It happened last winter at Rio de Janeiro countryside. Since then, open solutions and resilient processes has been my major concerns.

By sharing my impressions and personal efforts to develop urban farming at this blog, i intent to, in fact, be part of this huge open and collaborative community/network, building together our utopias :)

In this process i’ll share my perspectives and findings, mostly concerning edible wild plants, seed sovereignty, agroecological soil management and obviously some results within Refarm :)

Pleased to share with and read you all! Keep in touch!

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

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.

indoor ecosystems

Today I found these two projects that build closed loop ecosystems to grow small gardens and fishes at home. The fish produce the nutrients that are cycled up to feed the garden, as the garden clean and oxygen the water for the fishes;

http://www.aqualibrium.com/learn/

http://farmfountain.com/
http://farmfountain.com/howto/index.html

I don’t really like the idea of the fishes trapped in a bowl, and with led lights above I can’t think they really like it… but the idea is smart anyway.

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.

2014-05-08 at 10-58-06

we filtered the serum with coffee filters

2014-05-08 at 12-12-10

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

2014-05-08 at 12-14-45

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

2014-05-08 at 12-22-38

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.

2014-04-30 at 19-05-45 2014-04-30 at 19-25-28 2014-04-30 at 19-46-34

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 ;)

Ceramic pots irrigation

A very nice and didatic video about this very ancient irrigation method that uses ceramic pots (ollas).

It works with the same principle as the UFRRJ system, that uses ceramic filters as humidity sensors. The irrigation is controlled by the water saturation in the soil.

Original post: http://www.permaculture.co.uk/videos/how-guide-olla-pots-%E2%80%93-effective-traditional-irrigation-system

Thanks to El Amaral   ; )