harvest from a rooftop farm – brussels

What is the taste of your neighborhood? Sweet, sour or a bit rancid?
Did you ever eat flowers out of your back yard garden?
What about growing your own food in city rooftop gardens?
Are you familiar with guerilla gardening, wild food foraging or short chain economy?

Visit us during the streetmarket of the Vlaamse Steenweg where we are presenting our OpenGreens Ecological Art Project. Taste your neighbourhood, and enjoy the fresh okno honey, collected by our city bees this summer.
september 1 and 2, from 9am>7pm

growing food for the hungry city

The UrbanFarm is an experimental station for Urban Agriculture. It researches and analyses the pro and contra’s, the advantages, problems or bottlenecks to grow food in the city, and more specific: on rooftops of bigger buildings. How does a rooftop ecosystem deal with energy, water, soil and green technology? What does the project represent financially? How do plants and animals (city honeybees) interact with this artificial ecosystem?
UF-[O] is an open air laboratory that interacts with the city. The [Original] station is built on connected rooftops in the historical center of Brussels, [Replicas] of this model can be started on any other rooftop that is suitable for the purpose. The groundlevel location of UF-[O] is the place on the Brussels’map where a network of medieval market places and monasteries intermingle. The UF-[O] farm, set on the 6th floorlevel of this place, on the roof of a parking lot, is a place where artists and urban gardeners can develop new strategies for sustainable living in the city. An artistic approach, green DIY technology and a permaculture philosophy should present new opportunities to the (city)people to connect to food, food security and sustainability.

More and more people are living in the cities. We have to search for new modes of sustainable living, new ways of food production. Re-examine the link between the city as consumer and the countryside as provider. In this context, we are researching how to make a network of intensively cultivated city rooftopgardens where we can grow our own food for the neighbourhood.

Besides the food-function, the UrbanFarm-[O] is set up as our open-air laboratorium. In this project, we want to blend the natural and the digital in one and the same nature. We study and document how to set up a middle sized rooftopgarden (± 700 m2), all with recycled materials.
Artists occupy the public space and develop activities with a specific ecological focus: hack the top level of city and give it another destination. Connect different rooftops in a network of OpenGreens with city honeybees as connectors and bio-indicators.
The UF-[O] project blends nature and technology. By digital means it explores how the growth, blossoming and decay of plants occur while they are submitted to different abiotic elements as wind, rain, sun, etc.
Can we learn something from the data resulting from the monitorings? Is our environment programmable? Does the fusion of natural and artificial matter produce new organisms, new environments, new natures? Elements of the garden, plants as well as technology, become nodes in wireless networks. This happens both on rooftop level as on city level.
The connections between people, plants, sensornetworks and utilities of the rooftopgardens are mapped for further study. We research the collected data in the context of the 3 ecologies (Guattari, 1969) : ecological, social and political.