Energy Gardens For The Future of Food

Jim Bruner | Mezzacello The bioreactor tower now sports two vertical wind turbines, and two 100W solar panels.

I have always thought of Mezzacello as an urban food garden, I have recently begun to think about energy in the garden. So today I am writing energy gardens for the future of food. Why can’t we start thinking about growing energy in urban gardens? Certainly wherever we end up, the Moon or Mars, we’d need to also grow energy. Likewise we need this on Earth as well!

To this end, over the years I have learned you need water, food, and energy to grow food. Leave energy out of the equation and there will be lot of work and struggle involved. When I first started Mezzacello my commitment was to learning, evolving recording, and sharing my farming journey was paramount. I didn’t really fixate on how I would power it. Well, COVID19 changed that.

Reframing Power as a Product of the Farm, Not Just an Input

It wasn’t until this last year when I reframed the idea of producing energy for convenience to producing energy as a crop. I saw how difficult life was becoming for so many of my friends in retail, in the arts, and on small farms. I had been planning a series of summer camps that would focus on aspects of Urban Farming and the future. Consequently, a reliable source of power was becoming a necessity.

Eventually the time came to run the camps and the raw equipment to create renewable energy onsite became scarce. Apparently a global pandemic and shipping crisis, coupled with labor shortages in semiconductor sectors can create rapid scarcity. My plan was to have energy infrastructure in place by May. But any good gardener will tell you; Gardens come on their own time. So it took a few extra months for the electrons to flow.

An Apprentice Electrician?

As a result I need new skills! I’ll keep you posted on how thus progresses. The most difficult part of this journey is learning about electricity, systems, regulations, and the sheer reality of safely transmitting, storing, and using energy. This has been through solar panels, flywheels, and wind turbines and a lot of batteries, inverters, and wires! So many wires.

But mastery comes from success AND failure. It’s just in a garden of energy, you need to be ready for the crop! Stay tuned to this blogpost as I grow and learn as well.

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