Artist and designer Damien Chivialle (of Cootainer) has transformed a series of shipping containers into Urban Farm Units (UFU) - micro-farms where locals can harvest organic veggies, fruit and fish to their hearts' content. The UFUs include aquaponics systems and greenhouses, and they serve as think tanks for developing new ways to grow food in urban landscapes.
Within the containers Chivialle has designed a complex aquaponics system to enable circular agricultural processes. The containers each contain two cubic meters of water in which bacteria transforms fish waste into minerals to act as a natural fertilizer for the plants, then the water flows back into the fish pool. Sitting atop the structure is a greenhouse, perfect for maximizing sunlight.
Currently, UFUs have been constructed in Zurich, Brussels and Berlin, and an online blog helps these urban farmers share their container experiences, triumphs and tribulations to help learn from one another. Chivialle’s architectural installations also aim to reduce the distances that our food so often has to travel before reaching our plates. But much more than that, the containers provide a collaborative space for shared farming experimentation, a brilliant idea for cultivating a community.
Images courtesy of Demien Chivialle