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 :)

IMG_0992 - 2014-12-08 at 10-15-54

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



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

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 ;)

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




refarmthecity barcelona

today a new non profit organisation is born :)

refarm bcn will give support to all the projects in the city and has a hub for urban farmers. if you live in bcn stay tuned and join our activities in can roger or hangar.

troc vert

paris troc vert

just went today with shu lea and malik to this troc vert (green exchange) from seeds to plans filled with stories that make you.. smile, we found very nice people but we lacked specific info.. so much uncertainty on this exchange. this must leed us to a diferent strategy and give some light to our gold question “how do we have ww vegetable database?”

next stop paris :)


here we go again :) the next 3 weeks I’ll be in paris with andreu, andreas, shu lea (greenrush), samuel and fransini working on the project la graine et le compost.

we will try to build together software and hardware tools that can we bring local seeds to urban farmers and promoting compost and social exchange. as usual, if you are in paris pay us a visit and we will find a way for you to contribute. leave here some screenshots of the software development until now.






came to gijon this weekend to another ecolab meeting. it’s amazing how much work has been done in 7 saturdays..

this weekend we build the lake, took care of the plants, draw some diagrams and worked on the cartography of the space.

ecolab funcion list diagram

keep following this co-work here



some screen shots

with proud we present some screens from the visualizar’11 workshop :)

it were 3 amazing weeks…. 12 persons working on this project 24/24.

ok, with some beers and some parties in the middle, hehehe, as always madrid has received us like no one on the planet..

soon more new from the future develop of this tool ;)

new ultra low budget re:farm board (aka mini-vacations)

we have been working on this our A3 re:farm. everything fits on a A3 envelop ;)



we need to change our strategy over the electronics. the arduino platform is to expensive and truth to be said is like that guy that as a big car to drive on the island. we really don’t this that much electronics or processing capability of the ATMEGA.. so let’s shrink the design of the board and reduce the bill :)

A3 refarm electronics

spring update

finally the spring is here.. I think I’ve never desired a spring so much as this one!

after freezing my brains with the beijing group in january ;) I came home to start the grants applications.

this year we apply to this one, this one and this one.

only the visualizar’11 was approved (and we are very happy/exited about it:)  the other 2 grants didn’t work.. the one for fecyt that we were making with matadero we steep on some slow procedures and we miss the deadline.. the other from bilbao, the proposal that we sent was miserable.. mea culpa.. didn’t have time to work that text or ask for more help inside the community..

I’ve also went bankruptcy (hey if in our days countries went bankruptcy what do you expect from a guy like me? :) bad governance? maybe yes.. this idea of maintaining the re:farm project open and free, costs money, and my totally dedication to it also left me without regular incomes.. the unemployment here in spain, the fact that we are only funded by public institutions and on a project basis, personal clients that still owe me money.. all summed result on my bankruptcy :( I’m not complaining, I’m documenting. this is my personal the blog of the project and my personal stories are part of it hehehe but has michael said: “this project is more open than our personal gardens” and many things have occurred on the last months so here is an update of the most relevant:

interview from technikart here

andreas in paris is doing a fantastic research, go and check is blog and the prototyping process on ecolab page.

tarragona group has started! follow here all the updates.

madrid group will sprout soon.

that’s it for now. stay tuned with your vegetables :)

marché aux puces (fleamarket)

In search of the pressure-switches i decided one grey sunday to go the marché aux puces at  Porte de Clignancourt, which is  the bigest fleamarket and the oldest fleamarket  worldwide. It is a marvellous place where 3 times a week you can find from  very antic furniture and aireplanparts  till the latest underground french hip hop bootleg from the banlieu and other curriosities. And you can get there pressure switches. I bought 2 different types and a small motor for test reasons for a very nice price.  It was very nice day out in Paris :)

a new watering system

So piece by piece we are moving forward, I had a another meeting with AAA, this time with Doina the cofounder of AAA and Leonard from Guerilla Gardening – Paris who is doing currently an intership at there office. Doina explaned me that she is definetly interested to make an automatic watering system. Something that we  not proposed, because they are always at there Office. During the conversation we came, with the help of Leonard,  with a lot of different solutions up, but we didn’t convinced ourselfs to a final solution. Leonard showed me a watering system that is commonly used in Paris that i didn’t know before. It works with capillerty of ceramics and is basically the modern version of the ceramic mug in the earth. In Paris I have seen in the balconies plastic bottles standing out of the flowerbeds and I wasn’t really sure what this is all about.  There a several types of that ceramic watering system and you can find them easily by  goolgeling. During my study of that ceramic system I came across a paper by an brazilien agriculture scientist named Leonardo Oliveira Medici. He and his team developed a automatic selfwatering system that uses ceramic water purification capsules as humidity sensors. You can find the whole text here. Since measuring humidity with electric conductivity is not always satisfying I will try to install that system.

AAA allready developed various drip gravity watering systems, so for there future proyects it could be a good and easily to assembly solution and could be used in there backyard.

The foto shows a comercial ceramic watering system that i bought ( 5 Euros) and the consume of water by a single plant at roomtemperatur during 24h.

first draw and project concept


this is the first draw of the refarm. the initial idea was to make two systems of growing plants: one, in hydroponic and the other in the classic system with soil. the hydroponic is interesting because you can save water and barcelona is one of these cities that have huge water problems, but soon I left the idea because monitoring this system remotely it’s very expensive. So I stuck with the classical organic/substract system. In the picture you can see what I propose to control: automatic watering system, humidity measure, temperature measure and articial light all controlled by arduino. let’s see where this is going to. deadline: spring/summer 2009