From Resources to Food to Waste to Resource
When people ask, “what is Mezzacello?” My go to response is that it is an Urban Farm in a densely populated urban environment that employs agriculture, enclosed sustainable ecologies, and technology to create new pathways for food production and sustainability. We repeatedly seek to travel from resources to food to waste to resources.
Truthfully Mezzacello is a machine that maximizes the pathways from resources to food to waste to resource. Today my dear friend and mentor, Julialynne Walker just shared a story with me that led me to this graphic.
When I dug deeper into the article I discovered this inverted pyramid produced by the EPA and I was delighted! This inverted pyramid is the story of Mezzacello. I found it in a link from the Facebook article, here.
Instincts for Sustainability
Mezzacello has always been a systems-oriented passion project. The goal is to make farming make more sense, easier to sustain, and easier to implement in any environment. Key to this success has always been systems integration.
This was a no brainer: Make farming easier to manage and expand and more people would do it. I started with the knowledge that as a culture, Americans are OBSESSED with the convenience of waste. We take waste for granted and that is our greatest challenge.
The moment I reframed waste as money (and time) the trajectory of Mezzacello became very clear. Do more with less by integrating everything you do into a common goal: Decrease waste and expand resources. That is where the EPA inverted pyramid comes in.
The EPA Inverted Pyramid
The Hierarchy of Resources
In this EPA image you have a map to my mission.
- Step 1 Reduce waste
- Step 2 Make more food
- Step 3 Feed and integrate animals and wastes
- Step 4 Eliminate unnecessary waste
- Step 5 Optimize Compost
- Step 6 Allow for waste
Proof of Concept
In the past I have been criticized for my obsessive commitment to diminishing waste and relentlessly innovating ways to recycle, reuse, and reintegrate resources here at Mezzacello. The best way to do this is to adopt a “hoarder” mentality.
This has made Mezzacello a bit junky as I continue to innovate ways to store all of the “extra resources” I might need one day. But there has always been a method to my madness.
This summer I added a good deal of infrastructure to Mezzacello to directly deal with the messiness that an always prepared urban ag innovator will collect over time. I also added a great deal of renewable energy resources to the matrix because I was using energy that I had to pay for up front and it was limiting my sustainability.
- Every good farmer learns how to optimize yield to effort.
- Every good engineer learns to maximize efficiency through integrated design and implementation.
- Every project manager learns to optimize and regulate time, resources, and budget.
- That is what I have been relentlessly innovating towards here at Mezzacello.
The Season of the Networked Urban Gardens
This season’s primary innovation will be to leverage the infrastructure, systems, energy, and robotics, computer, and telecom assets to create “gardens of data” for other community gardens to use and deploy at their sites. The goal is to calculate what they need and what they have and find matrixes of common needs throughout the control community to be there for each other in a sustainable way.
Oh and the kids will benefit the most from this opportunity. They will be the ground team and agents of innovation for this endeavor. I will build and test the systems and then the kids will come and deploy, analyze, modify, improve and share their findings. And populate the data and research items to will create the Marauder’s Map.
The Marauder’s Map and #MischiefManaged
It’s going to be an interesting summer. Reading this tiny shared article with this amazing embedded graphic developed by the EPA is a lightening rod for me. The first project will extend the work the students did last summer in Minecraft that was a a map of Mezzacello.
The digital “Marauder’s Map” of resources at Mezzacello will be a dynamic representation of each system, resource, input, output and benefit at Mezzacello. From this prototype we will include other gardens and community resources. Over time the “Marauder’s Map” will become a valuable community resource that anyone can tap into and leverage.
Big plans, yes; but all seeds start small and grow. #MischiefManaged Stay tuned.