Farmers and gardeners have been using alternative energy for a long time. Windmills and watermills were dominating the rural scenery for many centuries. Today, modern science has blessed us with many other options. The surge of solar technology has enabled us to use the energy from the sun for urban gardens and farms.
Gardening - Flickr.com
This growing trend is transforming urban landscapes worldwide. Having a green sanctuary in a booming metropolis is a great privilege indeed. It is also an opportunity to treat yourself with the healthiest environment possible. This will spur many benefits for your health and well-being.
Welcome to the jungle
Nature has a calming effect on our mind. This is something that is hard to come by in the commotion of modern living. A small urban garden might not offer the same pleasure as visiting the countryside. But, it is as close as you can get to it in a concrete jungle. Tiny pockets of fresh air and greenery are essential in the polluted environments.
Solar-powered devices can fulfill many basic functions for urban growers and farmers. Things like water pumps and heaters are able to use solar energy to run. What you need is PV panels and a battery bank and you are ready to put it to use. The extent depends on the number of conditions such as the size of the panels and battery capacity. Those who have a limited budget could have trouble getting all the equipment needed.
But, high upfront costs should not worry you too much. In the long term, savings on energy will make up for it. Also, small-scale growers can make good use of small standalone systems. They include panels, battery bank and a charge controller. Those into DIY projects can even build one themselves. The good news is that there is a wide range of affordable materials. If you are opting for a large-scale operation, you can offset the energy. Also, it is possible to gain some extra income from selling the power back to the grid.
Vertical Gardens - Flickr.com
A breath of fresh air
All urban green areas, including parks, need to be well-maintained and nourished. When you have a hostile environment around yourself, you need to come up with creative ways to go green. That is why the vertical gardening is increasing in popularity. This stylish trend is present in many growing cities around the globe and for a good reason too.
Green walls have a great impact on the appearance of urban landscape. Moreover, they also provide oxygen and keep the air clean. But, shades that buildings throw at your balcony can prevent the growth of greenery. Vertical garners should thus consider going for solar power lighting. You will also need the sprinklers in order for your garden to remain the greenest.
Furthermore, things like solar water heaters are a handy asset for gardens and farms. They are not as high tech as some other gadgets and installations. But, they provide just enough water for cleaning and washing. They can also serve as a thermal mass to provide warmth for greenhouses when the sun goes down.
'Nest Home' project by mst.edu
Equipped with such solar-powered tools one can start creating a green enthralling shelter. There you can engage in your favorite hobby or other activity. Such a relaxing atmosphere has many benefits for your mental health. Growing raw fruits and vegetables on an urban farm has other advantages. With proper nutrition you will improve your physical condition as well.
One of the best ways to do this in an environment-friendly way is to use recycled shipping containers. They seem to be popping up everywhere lately, and serve as living spaces, offices, but also as farms. Many urban farmers are creating a sustainable local food supply chain across urban districts. Some of them even managed to construct self-sustaining family container houses.
It is quite easy to upgrade these flexible steel boxes. They can take on a plethora of solar-powered tools, and they and not tied to one place. One of the necessary improvements is solar lighting. It can get you through harsh winters by providing warmth. With the addition of air and water heaters, you will drop the need to waste dirty energy and go green all the way.
This year on Solar Decathlon was presented new concept of solar powered home, called “Nest Home”. It’s made of shipping containers and it has label of net-zero energy home.
Green window of opportunity
Overpopulated and polluted urban areas should embrace the urban gardens and farms. Solar energy is clean, healthy, and it often comes for free. It is a way to save money, get healthy, and to raise the environmental awareness. Few things are as important as these in life.
Growing your own plants and food in the cities faces some serious challenges. But the rewards the Mother Nature bestows upon us are many and pristine. Hence, urban gardens and farms can do much more than just styling the looks of urban environments. They could provide a worldwide mental health improvement. In the end, it is a way of living that serves as a green window into the future.