Founded by technology designer and serial entrepreneur Britta Riley, Windowfarms is a Brooklyn-based social enterprise that helps city dwellers grow fresh produce by their windows. On a mission to bring back agricultural biodiversity and connect consumers with sustainable food production, Windowfarms sells hydroponic vertical indoor gardens that optimize the conditions of city windows for year-round growing of small vegetables and herbs. The company began as an experiment to develop environmental solutions through crowdsourcing in 2009, when Riley built the first Windowfarm prototype in her Brooklyn apartment using water bottles and plumbing supplies. She shared instructions for making the system on a blog, which attracted tens of thousands of registered users from all over the world.
Windowfarms continues to run this online community of growers, where new features will turn the focus from the engineering of the Windowfarm to the growing process, providing users with information regarding plant species, nutrients, microclimate conditions, and other topics. Users can also share their Windowfarm experiences and hacks on the community website, as well as get advice from the Windowfarms staff or seasoned Windowfarmers about lighting, water flow, and more.
Launched on Kickstarter, Windowfarms raised more than $285,000 on the crowdfunding platform to get their manufacturing off the ground. Made in the US, Windowfarm kits start at $199 for a one-column garden and a one-column starter pack of baby plants. In a Windowfarm, nutrient-spiked water is pumped up from a reservoir at the base of the system and trickles down the bottles to wash the roots of each plant. Any water and nutrients that are not absorbed return to the reservoir to be pumped again at the next cycle.
Since its inception, Windowfarms has been featured in several media outlets, including The New York Times, Good Morning America, and The Martha Stewart Show. Presently, Windowfarms is part of a special exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History.