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Bootstrapped Urban Neighborhood SIP Veggie Farm

Create an instant neighborhood farm on a vacant lot with DIY Sub-Irrigated Planters (SIPs) to enable sustainable, highly productive organic gardening.

Photo of Avi Solomon
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In an unstable world, efficiently growing food locally provides a true oasis of security.

Sub-Irrigated Planters (SIPs) are the most efficient and foolproof way to grow tons of food anywhere with a little sunshine. Even preschoolers (with a little help!) can make and plant their own SIP using two 5-gallon food-grade buckets or larger plastic containers. The SIPs remain free of weeds and minimize maintenance, needing watering only once every 3 days. The SIPs are highly scalable and can be easily set up on and moved from rooftops or vacant lots while obviating the risks from contaminated urban soils. Vacant urban lots can be utilized (with municipal permission) to setup instant SIP farms.

Making a SIP farm then planting, growing, harvesting and selling their own vegetables will boost any local community's sense of accomplishment tremendously. Everyone is very likely to eat the veggies they grew themselves (they're tastier!), providing good health as a "side-effect". Each community can organize a local farmer's market or farm store to sell the produce, recruit volunteers and solicit donations.

What resources (money, time, people, technology, etc) will your concept need to be successful?

Local Volunteers (these could also be school kids or ex-prisoners), Vacant Urban Lot, Food-grade 5 gallon buckets donated by local restaurants. Proceeds from selling the farm produce can be reinvested in the farm.

What steps could you take to implement this idea today?

Demo the SIP farm on any vacant urban lot.

How can your idea be scaled so that it's implemented in cities around the world?

5-gallon buckets are available globally and are inherently scalable to fit any vacant space. SIP farm gardeners with a growing season under their belt "qualify" for helping other neighborhoods start their own SIP farm.

My Virtual Team

Ciara Byrne, Sonia Lee, Peter Marshall, Katie Cangemi, Holly Battelle, Carla, Mike McDearmon, Bernise Ang, Campbell Frey, Kate Gillette, Johan Löfström, Stefanie Plant.
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Attachments (3)


EarthTainer SIP Construction Guide


InnTainer Construction Guide


Newark Community Greenhouse Project Report


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Hey very nice blog, all the stuff that you provided here is really very helpful. This is great & very innovative idea for SIP. Thanks for sharing this.

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