What would YOU grow in a urban AGBAG?

Today Jose has been experimenting with DIY do-it-yourself technologies so see if we can better understand and change our environmental footprints. We’ve experimented with environmental sensors to see how technologies we normally use in a scientific setting can help to improve our everyday lives. Jose and his team from MIT have helped us to experiment with building solar powered coffee bean roasters using cheap everyday household material.

This evening Natalie Jeremijenko talked to us about her work exploring strategies and civic actions for producing a health urban environment. According to Natalie we currently have a “Crisis of Agency” that is, what do we do, and need to do, as individuals, collectively and institutionally to improve our environmental health. Natalie runs an Environmental Health Clinic at NYU. She says her ‘patients’ are ‘impatience’; people who are too impatient to wait for legislative changes. She says they leave her clinic with solutions to environmental health issues.

Natalie told us about the top five issues that paediatric doctors are challenged with:

  1. Asthma
  2. Development delays
  3. Childhood cancers
  4. Diabetes
  5. Obesity

… Our environment determines how we live and our environment affects our health. But it’s not just us humans getting fatter. Natalie says that a recent research study of 38 animal species that we share our urban environment with; rats, squirrels, foxes also having obesity issues!

Natalie told us that we need to ‘re-imagine infrastructure’ and she then described some of her current urban health projects:

  • Butterfly bridges and butterfly highways: a project that enables butterflies to safe cross the road via butterfly attracting plants
  • UP2U and Hula Hoops: you can spread wild flower seeds throughout your local environment whilst hula hoop dancing
  • Tree office: co-working spaces in New York. The tree is your landlord, you pay $10 for a day pass, which includes free wifi and your ‘landlord’ spends his rent on self-interest, namely companion planting!
  • Moth cinema: rethinking night lighting in urban areas
  • AGBAG Farmacy: this project explores food miles, growing delicious edible food in cities, clean air and asthma. You can hang your Agbag over your balcony and apparently its far easier, cheaper and safer than hydroponic gardening… My friends Matt and Tracey in Sandgate recently ‘lost’ their hydroponic garden so I’m hoping this will interest them!

Seems we can ‘make’ our urban environment which leaves me to ask you “What would you grow in an urban AGBAG?”