innovation is in the air

I’m of the persuasion, as abstract as it may sound, that great ideas somehow float in the air around us, waiting to be discovered by an open, attentive mind. I heard a friend say this many years ago, and I immediately thought it to be true. Even so, discovering, or should I say, receiving a creative idea doesn’t always come quite so easily. And often, it’s because things just get in the way. It’s encouraging, though, when the channels are open, because innovation is an exciting thing, and it’s desperately needed to help solve the problems that exist in this big world of ours. 

When it comes to farming and gardening, there are definitely some very tuned-in minds out there. You may have heard of hydroponics, but you may not have heard of aquaponics, which is a combination of hydroponic and aquaculture techniques. I found out about aquaponics when talking to my local small farm owner, where I often buy our raw goat’s milk and fresh eggs. In fact, they’re building their own aquaponic operation, involving a greenhouse and fish ponds, and apparently it’s a very sustainable solution to growing food. You can read quite a bit more about the subject at the website The Aquaponic Source.

A literal factory of ideas for more sustainable solutions on growing food, including aquaponics, The Plant is located in Chicago in a former meat-processing plant. The Plant’s mission is to operate as a net-zero energy vertical farm and food business, or as shown in this video, a state-of-the-art integrated food production. As quoted from the website: “All kinds of industrial buildings can be repurposed to house manufacturing and growing systems powered by renewable energy and to create jobs. This is the point we’re proving with The Plant! You can do this anywhere to great benefit to society.”

When I read about these creative solutions, or talk to someone exploring a new approach, it inspires me as a small backyard food grower too. What inspires you when you think of sustainable solutions for growing food? On this subject of growing food, what say you? Or more accurately, what hear you? For if indeed this world of ideas simply surrounds us, we only have to be willing to tune in and listen.

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(The world of mobile phone apps is a treasure chest of innovation, too, and I thought I’d share a few gardening apps I’ve come across, available for both iPhone and Android mobile phones.)

Gardening Apps (for iPhone & Android)

BeeSmart Pollinator Gardener

A comprehensive guide to selecting plants for pollinators specific to your area.

Mother Earth News Gardening Guide

Detailed information on growing many major garden crops

Vegetable Garden Guide
Information to help experienced gardeners and novices grow and harvest over 90 vegetables and herbs.

Bugs in the Garden
Identify common North American bugs, with realistic illustrations and photos

Ample Harvest
Donate the excess harvest from your garden to local registered food pantries in your state

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