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!



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!


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.



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 :)


Germinate your grains


crush them,


until you’ll get a modulable pasta.

modelando 2

Then just let the sunshine works and enjoy :)


Referência para meus amigos lusofonos :)


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


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 …


… 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 :))


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


No more than 15mn later and voilà!


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)

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


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: (GREAT one) (good catalogue, in french)


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!

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;

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.

seed knowledge

just got this today on my mail box.

IMG_9376Etienne Delprat last year asked us if we could have a talk. he talked with many great people and here is his work. tks Etienne ;)

winter update

it’s cold out there and the rain hasn’t visit us that much.. my plants are thirsty.. the winter and the wind help on drying the soil. my farm is on the roof and I use recycled water from the bath to watering. hard to synchronize personal hygiene with farm needs:p I feel I’m in the limbo of a mediterranean and an arid mediterranean clima. it’s a feel but I would prefer to sustain this by an observation of data of my farm’s season dataset. this is also why I started this project :p this and the idea that you can build you won tools, built together bigger farms, share seeds, knowledge and good meals. this have been our goals since 2008. we are now taking a bid steep. we have matured the technology, identified needs and problems, research in 14 different cities, 10 different countries, meet farmers, bright people, made friends, share concerns and objectives with different institutions from art and technology centers, to universities and local communities. we think we are now ready to bring this tools to a more wither audience. we got all lines of work have divided in 3 kits and software.

first kit: re:farm kids, the kids board his a work started on laboral, that then was extended to a workshop format with susanna tesconi and loida gil.

second kit: re:farm on mini vacations board has this idea that you can leave you farm alone. no need to watering, the board make than for you and you can check on you mobile if the farm is ok or what was the max/min temp/humd today. the price and the footprint must be mini.

third kit: re:farm@IAAC, a shield that is the beginning of a great partnership between IAAC and the re:farm bcn node.

to have this boards available more people at a lower price we need to produce more than 10-20. we need to go 150-500. so we will go global crowd funding [jump] :) we will start here in europe and brasil and next season if everything goes smooth we go further. it’s a big step but hopefully i’m not alone on this :) Alberto, Jordi and Francesc from CIMNE, Leonardo from UFRRJ, Nuria, Ana, Tomaz from IAAC, Marcos and Laura from Medialab_Prado, Miguel and Alex from Hangar, Andreu and Juan RFTCBCN, Surian RFTHRJ, Olga and Pere L’Hort del Circ and Pedro from Homem Bala, have embraced this project. also welcome Guilherme and Emilson, they recently join the team and are making practices for their master thesis in the university of Nantes. Guilherme will work on the DB of vegetables and care. Emilson on the multilayer guts of our boards and sensors. it’s a growing team and you are more then invited to join us.

we are now preparing the materials for the crowd funding. many things to coordinate and account. we will spend february and march on this and expect to open the funding on 1 of april. funny no? hihihi if we are successful (cross fingers but please spread the word) we plan to start production middle may, first boards middle june, july until september local workshops and boards delivery.

we’ll keep you update ;)

Can Roger + Juan’s Introduction

logo can roger RGB alta horiz


Hello everybody!

My name is Juan, I’m a young architect with knowledge and interests on sustainability, energy efficiency and other ways of practicing and understanding Architecture: light, temporary, community involved and environmentally responsible. I’m currently working on a bunch of different projects around Barcelona, related to Urban Farming, Permaculture and City Resilience, and I’ve been involved with the Can Roger project and ReFarm BCN for a few months already.

Can Roger is an association and a physical space located in Barcelona, at Carrer Roger de Flor 217, three city blocks away from Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Right now, we have an empty urban lot of 1776 square meters leased for three years by the municipality of Barcelona, via the Urban Voids program. ReFarm BCN (alongside six other entities from the neighborhood) is going to transform this empty lot into a blooming, dynamic, participatory and open space, with a social diner, an urban farm and art walls. (represented in the wonderful logo designed by Hernani)

Tomorrow we have a meeting and next week we’re going to start bringing materials to the site, we’ll keep you posted.

talk with students about ocean contamination and ecodesign


today I gave a talk to the students of Visual Comunication and Design in the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. I started with this article and then show pictures of cris jordan. them I moved to ecodesign telling my personal evolution has a designer with stories were I found trash designed by me and how I now approach to design with considerations for the environmental impacts during the lifecycle of a product. Rio de Janeiro, has all the big cities, still make today the worst examples on how our daily live cause huge damage to other species that we share the same round planet.

trash in rio de janeiro




today I when visit UFRRJ. prof Leonardo Medici was there waiting for me and we spend all day together.

instituto de agronomia

We have been in contact by email the last 6 months and today I finally could travel to Seropédica and visit all the work of Leonardo and his team. we visit “lab-farms” exchange knowledge, stories, and experiences. we talked about the refarm technologies and how they could contribute to their studies. will continue to work together so expect news soon from this partnership ;)

estufa02UFRRJ estufa01UFRRJ

interactivos? 2013 resume

you know.. good things always reach a end.. this were 2 amazing weeks were we came to make one thing and finished making 4 :)

mesa trabalho interactivos13

for the ones who never printed on a 3D printer and think it seems so easy, you have no idea.. and the press have talk and talk but rarely puts the hands on a printer. ars has the most honest press cover I’ve saw. so let’s start from the beginning. we came here to make a low power faucet that could be printed. after some initial research we found many models on thingiverse that could be adapted to our needs. we give up the designs that flows water inside cause it’s impossible to have precise measures on a 3D printed object and then impossible to water seal any mechanism so we went to another approach: let’s print a mechanism that can close and open a real faucet. with this approach we could implement the watering system on virtually any faucet. we also saw that printing gears was delicate and that means we need to print big gears to compensate the small errors. in the meantime with so many starts and stops on the 3D printer other projects popped from those 20 amazing brains that eat, work, drink, laugh and slipped together for 16 days. the first that came was the mini hydraulic ram. the idea came from elflin and it’s a recurring problem in our designer’s heads: how to pump water from the bathtub to the toilet on a old bathroom? we produce many hand draws but we didn’t finished a complete 3D model only the mini water valves. magrão documented the process here on the nuvem’s wiki

one day a new 3D printer came. we didn’t had place for her so we built a table :) this was our project #3


we also debate and advanced a bit more on the electronic board “mini vacations” with thiago. in a couple of weeks we’ll send them to the press. 3 packs: one to barcelona, one to san francisco and other to rio de janeiro. surian will get the boards in rio so if you what one ask him :) surian was also involved on the next project the #5: monitoring of the composter built by joaquim. surian documented everything here.

well “galera” (bruno, chintia, julia) I think it was the best and the most immerse interactivos? that I ever have been.. I’m sure that medialab_prado is proud of you and how you worked the open model of interactivos workshops ;) congratulations!!

I will not mention my collaborators mainly because everyone collaborate with all the projects. I made new friends, laugh all the time, spend a great time surrounded with exuberant nature and brilliant humans ;)

we will continue our development on the 3D printed e-faucet and the other projects. expect more news soon.

stay happy, people in RJ can teach you that ;)

interactivos update

do no were to start :) maybe for the morning face washing on the river that flows on nuvem..


then the breakfast

morning-breakfast morning meeting


and here a visual resume of the last days.

this is the faucet that we need to control:


we have started from designing valves that can be made in 3D print



then we design a mechanism that can be adapted to the faucet. this one is moved by a servo motor.


and then we printed :)


we will continue this development for the next 9 days. you can check the wiki of nuvem for a day by day report. more news soon ;)


landing on rio

this is my bag content :) some electronic materials and tools and also some materials for watering systems.


today I went shopping to get some materials to have the full kit of the UFRRG watering system. we will build this setup on the nuvem to test the e-faucet that we will draw and test.



36R. pressure switch 30R and the ceramic filter 6R.

then I went with cinthia and alejandra to the university.


we went to visit the nano– art and new organisms center of the UFRJ in fundão. meet Malu and her students. tks Malu for receiving us ;)


in nano we pic the 3D printer that we are using the next 3 weeks. this 3D printer was build by marcos and it’s his personal printer. tks marlus ;)



then we went to nuvem, 4h of madness traffic to get out of rio, rain, fog but finally we arrived :) julia and vishwa ram had some soup prepared and prepared some hot tapioca pancakes.. delicious all ;)


our first meeting of interacivos. lots of new people all wiling to take the proposals to a good end.

ok guys, stay tuned I’m going to sleep now.. on the cloud (nuvem) :p

doors open @ l’hort del circ


today we open the circu’s farm to the public. from 19h to 22h we had music, drinks and talked with everyone interested on this particulary urban farm. it took us 2 years and the contribution of many people on design, building structures, maintain things alive and keep the place clean. it’s a just a joy looking to the green spot we have created over the ruins of a roman circus ;) thanks everyone that stoped by and a special thanks to all of you who made this urban farm possible.

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 11.53.38 AM

uau!! 2 lines that made us jump of joy :) so next september you will find us in brasil developing a electronic faucet/valve that can be made in a 3D printer. here you can see our proposal.

I’ll keep you posted on the developments here on the blog and on the wiki. please if you want to contribute feel free. the e-valve is a complex project so every help is welcome ;)

nas nuvens

creio que é o primeiro post que escrevo em português :) ontem apresentámos a nossa proposta para uma residência artística na a ideia era formalizar a nossa colaboração com a UFRRJ no desenvolvimento do sistema de rega de baixo custo, conhecer a nuvem e poder contribuir para um projecto que busca uma harmonia entre humanos e biosfera e obviamente hihihi poder voltar a participar num interactivos! trabalhar com gente nova e que sabe mais de “outras coisas” :) a nossa proposta é por um lado ligar o sistema de rega a uma placa de refarm para que possamos recolher dados e enviar-los aos nossos servidores e por outro lado desenvolver componentes específicos (uma torneira) de codigo aberto.

olhando para o sistema UFRRJ há 3 componentes que são difíceis de encontrar globalmente ou que diferem radicalmente de cidade em cidade. outros não :) por exemplo o presostato é um componente global. em todas as cidades que fomos sempre encontrámos máquinas de lavar a roupa donde era possível retirar o presostato e de regular os mecanismos internos para que funcione com a pressão requerida 1KPa. no caso da electro-valvula/torneira/mecanismo-de-fechar-um-circuito-de-agua não conseguimos encontrar uma fonte regular deste componente nas cidades. primeiro porque genética de refarm: como fazemos oficinas não trabalhamos com altas voltagens e as valvulas que mais encontramos são as das maquinas de lavar roupa/louça. estas são todas a 110-220V ac. a voltagem comportável para trabalhar com todas as idades é entre 3-5V dc.

segundo porque não encontramos frequentemente electro-valvulas de baixa voltagem.. há umas numas impressoras profissionais, outras numas máquinas de café, outras na nautica, mas não é um componente comum a nivel global. esta é a nossa proposta concreta para a nuvem, desenvolver uma “e-torneira” para ser reproduzida localmente com uma impressora 3D.

o outro componente intrigante é o sensor de cerâmica. este componente tem muitos desafios pela frente antes de chegar a ser um objecto que possa ser reproduzido segundo as matérias primas disponíveis nas cidades.

só 5 propostas serão aceites, cruzem dedos :)

mini vacations board

yesterday martin hug just send us this


it’s our new mini vacations board V3. the mini is meant to control the UFRRJ watering system, collect/store data and has an optional wireless data socket to upload data or change configurations.

contents: ATMEGA328, EEPROM serial 256K, usb port, FTDI, wifly, 3V rele, Li-Ion battery.

we’ll are making 10 of them and we need 10 developers that are willing to take one and start debugging :) we will realease them free you just have to tell us why you want it and figure out a transportation solution from barcelona to you :p