If you’ve ever walked around West Oakland, farming probably doesn’t come to mind. That’s because it’s the fifth busiest shipping port in the United States. But that hasn’t stopped maker Eric Maundu from feeding himself with locally-grown food from his aquaponic gardens, a combination of fish farming and hydroponic planting. Frequently proclaiming, “I am not a farmer,” Eric has applied his robotics and software background to making gardens smart.
“I feel knowledge of electronics and software programming makes me a better farmer than just having a hoe. Gardens that can communicate for themselves using the internet can lead to exchanging of ideas in ways that were not possible before. I can test, for instance, whether the same tomato grows better in Oakland or the Sahara Desert given the same conditions. Then I can share the same information with farmers in Iceland and China.”
His company, Kijani Grows, sells kits, components, installs gardens throughout the Bay Area, and teaches classes on aquaponics. This inspiring video from fair companies gives an epic walkthrough (note the length of the video – how leet!) of his various indoor & outdoor systems and designs: