Hi, We are Roots!
The Aeroponics System that is shaping the future of urban food production with open source technologies.
ROOTS is a multidisciplinary approach towards food production. It combines ancestral connection to food provenance, urban cohabitation and technology. Aeroponics is a technology developed by NASA to grow plants in space - it uses minimal water, fertilisers and space.
What the heck is Aeroponics?
There are many more ‚ponics‘ in the ponic family, however these are the main ones. We are choosing to work with aeroponics because we believe it promotes future food literacy - showing how technology can aid and build trust within food production.
Aeroponics is a technology in which plants are grown suspended in the air, their roots are misted with a nutrient-water solution. Aeroponics uses less water, nutrients and fertilisers than the other ponics. However, common problems with aeroponics are often from nozzles clogging and algae formation.
Plants are suspended in a growing medium with their roots partially submerged in a nutrient-water solution. Hydroponics can be placed in most areas and provide produce year-round, with reduced and reusable water consumption. However, hydroponics is not the cheapest technology, requires maintenance and can spread waterborne plant diseases.
Plants are grown in a soil medium alongside fish, ducks or or chemical fertilisers. When the fish are fed, their poo is converted into nutrients which then fertilises the plants, the plants in return purify the water. Aquaponics is great as it contributes towards a circular food economy without the need for synthetic fertilisers. It can be difficult to find the balance between lights, nutrition and thriving fish.
We support MIT Media Lab’s
”We believe the precursor to a sustainable food system will be the creation of an open-source ecosystem of technologies that enable and promote transparency, networked experimentation, education, and hyper-local production.”
We are interested in developing food literacy. This is the combination of contemporary technological skill with historic knowledge of food production. Not only are we reconnecting people to provenance, we are also trying to illustrate how technology can aid and build trust with food production. Direct implementation of aeroponics into the urban infrastructure, such as schools, can be an educational tool not only for food production, but also for electronics, biology and geography. ROOTS aeroponics is not concerned with producing more food, but producing high quality, nutritious food which is grown with less air miles than many supermarket products. This project is not nostalgic about food production of the past, but it is serious about food production of the future.
What we're working on right now
We are growing different varieties of plants and understanding how they grow together. We are also working on understanding the lifecycle of an aeroponics, from the materials we use to water collection. We are developing the technology used in the aeroponics and how it is used to generate vital production data.
The design of aeroponics can often be industrial. We are working on adapting this design to be more aesthetic and synchronised to user experience. Circular societies are of an enormous importance to us, therefore we are working on developing a natural, water-soluble fertiliser for aeroponics.
BIOTOPIA Festival kindly welcomed Roots aeroponics in May 2019 with the first prototype of the aeroponics system. We are currently working on another version and will also be exhibiting at Dutch Design Week 2019. Each version we develop works towards achieving circular sustainability and user functionality.
ROOTS consists of a humble team of two designers. Jessica Guy and Emily Whyman met studying the Master in Design for Emergent Futures, based at IAAC Barcelona, in which both worked on the Nextfood & Growstack Aeroponic system.
ROOTS is now expanding it’s horizons and will be permanently located at an urban food lab in Poblenou, Barcelona. ROOTS is dedicating its time towards fostering an agrotech community in which all subscribed are dedicated towards creating a secure and delectable FOODture.