As the world’s population continues to climb, the climate continues to change, and issues of water and food scarcity arise, interest in alternative farming mechanisms is growing. Jiyoo Jye, M.Des. ’16, a recent graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, is attracted to the social and cultural narratives within this agricultural revolution, as captured in her living, open research archive Rooted in Air.
Hydroponic, aeroponic, fogponic, aquaponic, and related systems for growing food require fewer natural resources and can be constructed for as little as $30. A do-it-yourself culture is in full bloom, with more of these methods becoming available to the masses and to the novice farmer. “Rooted in Air” is Jye’s contribution to this blossoming community, an online platform for case studies, idea-sharing, and discussion.
With help from a student sustainability grant from the Office for Sustainability, Jye was able to expand her thesis research into a full-fledged investigation of soil-less farming modules and the urban stewardship that these methods can promote.
Of her research, Jye said, “It’s about growing produce in the absence of soil and investigating ways in which soil-less farming informs plausible solutions for urban food production. In doing so, it reflects upon how the revolution of alternative urban farming practices are engineering new feedbacks within the synthetic ecology of agriculture and considerably influencing the social actors of its domain. The survey of soil-less farming systems offers a framework for comparing how agricultural practices are being aligned with economic viability across scales.”