About this project
THIS KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN IS COMPLETE. PLEASE VISIT WWW.WINDOWFARMS.ORG
Backers - Thank you so much for helping us meet our goal. Please watch for emails and respond promptly to clarify rewards delivery & payment. Your cooperation is critical to meeting the deadlines promised.
WHAT IS A WINDOWFARM?
Windowfarms let you grow fresh vegetables at home by taking advantage of natural light and climate control indoors. The roots are bathed in nutrients from the sea, preventing food plants from getting root bound (as they do in traditional soil filled containers). You get healthier roots, and fresher, more nutritious vegetables without dirt in small spaces.
By bringing edible gardens into living rooms and kitchens, you learn about where your food comes from while eating the freshest produce available.
We are offering One-Column Windowfarms at a special reduced price to help us meet our production minimums. Normally, our One-Column Windowfarms will cost $119.95, but if you buy on Kickstarter now to help us get started, you will get it for just $99 (plus shipping and handling).
The new Windowfarms systems are made from environmentally friendly plastic and wire. The new design just snaps together, so you can get right to growing. As you can see below, they can either hang from two hooks above your window (left) or stand on their metal base or your sill or floor (right). Over time, we will come out with many more versions but we love this one so much we are already calling it "the Classic."
WANT TO BUY ONE?
This website is a little different. Here on Kickstarter you can "preorder" a windowfarm. It lets you help us, a small business with a powerful social mission, pay the startup costs of this new manufacturing project. When you select a reward from the options on the right, you are ordering something that is not made yet. Your credit card will be charged for it on Dec 7, once everyone's orders are in. Then we will take your order along with everyone else's order and money to the manufacturer and they will make all of them! Yours will ship to you or your giftee in March. You will be in the first batch and you will see that that buys you a lot of "street cred" in our community.
HAVE QUESTIONS? Read our Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of the page in blue.
You don't have to have a green thumb because windowfarms come with a built in social network online. There are already 22,000 of us around the world who are growing in water bottle windowfarms and we are online! You always have someone to talk to about your plants to share your growing experiences with at our.windowfarms.org. Conversations center on identifying the "micro-climate" of your windows and finding a good match amongst the huge varieties of herbs, greens, vegetables, fruits, and medicinals available. It's like the Facebook game, Farmville, but tastier!
If you think you want to start easy. Choose a reward that includes nutrients and baby plant delivery of our favorite, well-tested varieties to ensure that you start off with good baby plants and your Windowfarms are always producing fresh herbs, greens, and other edibles.
Our new Windowfarms will not be ready to ship by the holidays, but your giftee's Windowfarming experience will start on Dec 24. If you tell us you are pre-ordering as a gift, we will send a personalized welcome-to-the community card to your loved one before December 24. The card will include a link to a personalized webpage already set up for his/her windowfarm. Your giftee will be able to begin customizing the page and learning about his/her window's microclimate. He/she will go through Windowfarms 101 by video. At that point, he can select the plants he wants and start meeting other windowfarmers. By the time the windowfarm arrives, your loved one will be ready to grow for real!!
YOUR WINDOWFARM REWARDS
One-Column Classic Windowfarm- $99 + shipping/handling (US & Canada) comes with:
International version does not include timer & pump but does include shipping (see FAQs below)
Four-Column Classic Windowfarm- $269 + shipping/handling comes with one special, slightly larger air pump that runs all four columns and one timer. All other parts come with 4X the quantity.
Baby plant and nutrient rewards come at several reward levels. Some are for one shipment, others are for multiple quarterly shipments. Each shipment includes:
- Organic and natural sea-derived nutrients from Botanicare's Organicare line, enough to last for one or two crops (about 4 months) and a measuring dropper.
- Disposable water testing strips.
- Baby plants, aka "seedlings," raised by our chef-turned-hydroponic farmer partner, Greg Graft of Grateful Greens. You will have an opportunity to select your plant mix from a variety of fine herbs and salad greens after the campaign closes. Common varieties include: Genovese Basil, a peppery watercress, perfect-caesar romaine, red leaf lettuce, tangy red-veined sorrel, lolla rosa lettuce, arugula, rosemary, thyme, oregano, stevia, mint and much more. We are always trying new varieties. Seedlings are about 3-4" tall and their roots are grown in hydroponic root cubes. You just nestle them into the clay pellets and turn your pump timer on! You can harvest from the same plant for 2-4 months depending on the variety.
DON'T FORGET TO PLEDGE FOR SHIPPING, OR WE CANNOT DELIVER YOUR REWARD!
Time: Windowfarms will ship in March. Bags will ship in January.
One-column Windowfarm: Please add $15 within the continental US, $19 for Canada, Hawaii, and Alaska. International shipping included in the International Reward.
Four-column Windowfarm: Please add $35 within the continental US, $42 for Canada, Hawaii, and Alaska. Not available internationally.
Baby plants and nutrients cannot be shipped internationally because of customs restrictions. Please see below for all international frequently asked questions.
The pictures of the Windowfarms systems are of prototypes. Small changes to improve your experience will most definitely occur before you receive your Windowfarm! Please contact us if you have questions.
On Dec 7, the project will close. At that time, Kickstarter will charge your credit card and send you a request for additional information, including your address, payment clarifications, and gift information.
You can grow almost anything in a Windowfarm, except root vegetables (like potatoes and radishes), or cereal plants like corn and wheat, which are too tall for the system. Even in lower light windows, you can grow greens and herbs like sweet stevia, mint, basil, fennel, arugula, sorrel, shiso and more. You can grow bigger plants that bear fruit as well, like strawberries, cherry tomatoes, scallop squash, okra, and peppers. Weight is not an issue if you trellice plants and tie them to the metal rack. We are constantly shocked by the large plants windowfarmers grow in our online community of D-I-Y windowfarmers. Some community members focus on medicinals, such as Chinese herbs used in accupuncture treatments that are hard to find live in here. We hope that when you join us, you will expand the pallet of windowfarms plants by experimenting with new varieties.
A Windowfarm grows large plants with compact root systems by delivering ideal nutrition to the roots with precision timing. You get bigger, healthier plants per foot of vertical window space! You fill the container at the bottom with water and a kind of "liquid soil" once a week. A pump on a timer periodically sends water and food to the top, where it trickles down through all the plants' roots and is recaptured at the bottom. The plants are sitting, not in dirt, but in clay pellets.
You can 1. transplant potted dirt plants by carefully shaking dirt out of plants' roots, 2. plant seeds in composted tree bark sponges (sold separately on our website), 3. choose a reward that includes having baby plants (see above about "seedlings") shipped to your door.
In typical food growing, good dirt makes food taste better and have better nutritional value. You’ve either got good dirt or you don’t, and sometimes its hard to tell. In a hydroponic Windowfarm, you can choose the nutrients that feed your food and you can even customize nutrients for strawberries, kale or tomatoes. We recommend and sell ocean-derived natural and organic nutrient solutions, which bring a rich diversity of ancient minerals that are difficult to find in over cultivated fields. Ground seaweed, molasses, sea bird guano, and compost tea are common organic ingredients. As a http://our.windowfarms.org/, we are also pioneering new pairings of nutrient solutions with tasty heirloom food plant varietals to revive biodiversity for future generations.
Probably. We've done a lot of surveying and designed the new ones to fit a lot of different kinds of windows. Windowfarms are four feet tall, and are designed to either hang from a hook above the window or sit on the floor, windowsill, or a shelf next to the window. They can be doubled for tall windows, with one hanging from above and one sitting below. You can also add multiple columns of Windowfarms to fill wide windows!
Not much. Windowfarms have been designed from the ground up to beat the carbon footprint of typical grocery store produce. We are still collecting data to see where we are with this goal, but early evidence looks good. We have found that windowfarms use about $8 worth of power per year here in New York. They are low power because a low wattage air pump to move water. The pump is turned on only on a few times per day. When you compare this energy with the total carbon use of grocery store produce, which requires petroleum based fertilizers and pesticides, tractors, greenhouse heating for winter production, transportation, and refrigeration both at the store and at your home, there's a lot of power associated with the few sprigs of basil we buy and let go to waste in the fridge. Instead, grow your own and have the joy of living produce at home all the time!
Pretty easy, if you are willing to start off simple. Your Windowfarm arrives with everything you need to start growing healthy, fresh vegetables in the comfort of your own home. The windowfarm has a pump on a timer which supplies liquid nutrients directly to your plants' roots. You refill the reservoir approximately once a week with water and about a few squirts of nutrients. You can start off with easy plants and progress to more challenging plants later. The windowfarms community is here to help. You input your window conditions on our website and then if you have any problems with your plants, fellow windowfarmers can help you identify what to change. Talking to other windowfarmers online and trying new plant varieties is what most people find to be the most fun part of windowfarming.
Do you ship to my country?
Yes, we do, but it will not be the same windowfarm or the same price.
Why does the international windowfarm cost more?
The pricing for international reward is higher because we have to pay international shipping and tariffs. Our shipping partner has to fill out several pieces of paperwork for every windowfarm and they charge us for that. With additional taxes and fees for international shipments we regret that the price cannot be adjusted any lower. With such high demands for windowfarms across the globe, we have done our best to offer them to everyone near or far!
Why does it not come with a pump nor a timer?
We do not include pumps and timers because of power supply reasons. Because we're offering the new windowfarms to multiple locations worldwide, it is only reasonable to have them sourced locally to best meet your power requirements. We believe it is better for the planet because otherwise you would have to buy a power adapter, which would make your windowfarm less efficient.
Where can I find my pump and timer?
There are many online hydroponic shops where you can easily find air pumps and timers. Also, the air pump we use is a standard pump used in many aquarium tanks, which you can easily find at your local pet stores. Please check the pump in the store as some models do not work well. When you plug it in, you should feel air pushing against your finger without a break. You should get a 48 on/off mechanical 24 hour cycle timer, something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Sylvania-SA110-Heavy-Appliance-Timer/dp/B000DZC226.
What do I do if I have questions about my local climate and where I could source parts locally?
We do have individual groups of windowfarmers formed on our community site all over the world! It is the ultimate place for you to seek solutions to issues only unique to your environment. We want you to have dialogues with your peers and learn from one another by posting your experiences. And if the group you're looking for doesn't exist, be the first to start! Spread the words and expand your windowfarming community. Please visit and join at http://www.our.windowfarms.org/
Why can't the seedlings be shipped internationally?
By international law, we are prohibited to ship plants or seeds across any border.
How do I start planting?
You can do one of the following, or all:
1. transplant potted dirt plants by carefully shaking dirt out of plants' roots. it is important to do it careful to not disturbed already established root systems, but at the same time get as much soil out as possible to prevent windowfarms from clogging.
2. start your own seeds in composted tree bark sponges or root plugs that can be found at your local hydroponic stores or online.
3. research for your local hydroponic farmer for fresh hydroponics seedlings.
Will we get our gift card in time for the holidays?
Because oversea shipments take much longer than domestic, we cannot guarantee they will arrive in time. We are currently working hard to sort out the logistics for holiday shipments and will do our best to accommodate what we can in the tight time frame provided.
Your climate-controlled living space makes a great year-round greenhouse if you can make use of natural light coming in your windows. You have to have at least some natural light and then find a good pairing of plants for your window's microclimate. That's what the community is here to help you do. Heat and humidity in the air around your windows changes with the seasons. Try to give your plants the best possible air circulation and plan your farm to account for your "local conditions." If you have low light, stick to herbs and greens. If you have a sunny south-facing window, you can progress toward growing more challenging plants that bear fruit like peppers, strawberries, and cherry tomatoes. If your windows get very little light or only indirect light you may need to purchase LED growlights from us at some point in the future.
Water bottle windowfarms are not going anywhere. Spreading the DIY for the planet zeitgeist is our mission. Go to http://www.windowfarms.org/buildyourown, get access to opensource designs, and contribute to our thriving DIY community. This new product just helps financially support our mission and our 22,000 member website. This new design allows us to to open the project to people who are not "McGuyver." We can also vastly lower the price. Waterbottle windowfarms might have looked inexpensive but they were actually costly for us to produce. We had to charge $249 for a two column water bottle kit with bottles sourced from the trash. Ultimately, we are happy to let the DIYers find your own parts, and for everyone else, there's a beautiful easy product that lets them skip to the growing.
The pump and timer are not included for international because of power supply differences. We believe it is better for the planet to not make you buy an adapter. Instead, you can purchase an aquarium air pump at a pet supply store for about $12 and a mechanical timer with 48 on-off settings for about $8 at a hardware store. Shipping and international tariffs are very expensive and have been a real problem for other Kickstarter projects, sometimes running up to $150, depending on the location. We have created the best deal we possibly can for you with our international package.
That would be really cool, but no. Windowfarms are not the solution to world hunger and all the food system's problems. They are one piece in a very big system. Thank goodness we are working beside thousands of other good food pioneers. It takes many acres of land to grow enough food to feed one of us humans. Hydroponics can produce up to 10x the amount of food per square foot. Windowfarms let us do a lot with the little amount of space we have. You can grow up to 8 plants of whatever variety you choose in a one column classic system. It would take a lot of horizontal dirt garden space to grow 8 vegetable plants. Windowfarms let us understand something of what farmer's deal with every day. They help us get some hands-on experience with the agriculture side of food, so that terms like organic start to make more sense to those of us who live far away from fields. We believe that by bringing some of these issues home for tens thousands of people in a way that is FUN, we will have a huge impact in the food movement.
No. The pump only turns on occasionally and it is essentially an aquarium air pump, like the kind that makes the bubbles in a fish tank. They are designed to be quiet. So it occasionally makes as much noise as an aquarium would.
Yes! They will be made of BPA free and made of all food-safe, recycled or recyclable or take-back program plastics (I can guarantee this if we meet the minimum to have them produced in the USA). This is one of the main advantages of making new windowfarms, particularly in the USA. They will be better for people and the environment than the recycled water bottle windowfarms were (although those water bottles were also BPA free but made of PET). For the new windowfarms, we have designed around the most safe plastics, #5 PP, and we are implementing additional processes that will make them even more safe . . . more than your toothbrush, your baby's bottle, or aluminum water bottles. There is a lot of erroneous information out there on this subject. Read more about the kinds of plastic safety codes we are following, published by the most well-respected source on environmental and health impact in the US, the NRDC: http://www.nrdc.org/thisgreenlife/0902.asp
No. It comes with one timer and one slightly larger air pump that has four outlets. It is much more efficient that way. Everything else is multiplied by four though.
Unfortunately, no. Windowfarms will not be available for pick-up locally as the fulfillment will be done at the location where the new product are being manufactured. Please add shipping cost to your pledge.
If you live in a cold climate and you do not have any climate control, then it may not work for you. If your windows are breezy, that's ok. You will just need to select plants that like colder conditions. We have found that a lot of schools in cold areas turn the power off at night and temperature drop drastically, in which case you may need to place a warmer on a timer under your nutrient reservoir. If the nutrients stay within the recommended temperature range and keep plants' roots warm, the top part of the plant can be exposed to pretty cold "indoor weather."
Classic Windowfarm is one-column, newly designed windowfarm that we are offering as a reward for $99+s/h. We will be producing more models, but we like this one so much that we are already calling it the "Classic." We are no longer selling the DIY waterbottle kit.
Maybe, but Windowfarms are really designed for indoor growing. Rain can get into your nutrient reservoir and can upset the balance. Wind may also be an issue. We recommend that if you have outdoor space that is warm enough to grow year-round, you stick with good old soil growing.
No. Windowfarms work even in the coldest climates by taking advantage of the climate control of your living space and the natural light form your windows. If you live in a region that has limited sunlight, you may want to consider LED lights to help your plants thrive. We will have them available on our website soon.
We have fans all over the globe and there are radically different costs to shipping to different parts of the globe. We don't think it is fair to anyone to charge a high flat rate. Unfortunately, Kickstarter does not have a great way of dealing with shipping yet, so we have to ask you to add shipping to your pledge. You can do it!
If you are going to hang your windowfarm, the base stand is 16" diameter, but if you are just going to hang it, the reservoir at the bottom is 8" diameter. I like to leave at least 8" between columns but you can put them really close together, with maybe 3 inches between if you want. It depends whether you want to leave room for light to come in the windows, or use them as "living blinds."