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Urban Vertical Farm and Pick-it-Yourself Market

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When industrial designer Ben Green and grower Tyler Nevers saw a need for suppling urban food-loving folks with locally grown produce at reasonable prices, they devised a plan and successfully raised $25,000 on Kickstarter for a small scale urban “artisan” farm and market that they hope one day will become as common as the corner store.

Their Raleigh, North Carolina prototype, The Farmery, is an urban variation of a rural farm market: an all-in-one neighborhood urban food farm and retail farmer’s market that consolidates the food system by growing and selling the food all under one roof–including the sides and floor.

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Constructed of stacked low-cost shipping containers and attached modular lean-to greenhouses, on the exterior facades of the containers living walls utilize a proprietary hydroponic vertical growing system to grow produce that The Farmery sells in its pick-your-own market.

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A freestanding central greenhouse serves as a growing and retailing area, where customers can pick their own crops right off the growing panels.

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The plan includes three containers dedicated to cultivating gourmet mushrooms, where water reservoirs line the walls to soak the blocks in between the fruiting. Oyster mushrooms grow in a ground-level container, Shiitake in one of two upper level containers, another with a rotating variety of seasonal mushrooms throughout the year including maitake, black poplar, king oyster.

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Pick it Yourself Vertical Farm
Growing vertically saves space and insulates the containers, eliminating the need to cover them. In the central and lean-to greenhouses, the lightweight, modular growing panels are easily moved and produce is harvested through the container openings. The farmers grow seedlings and microgreens on the walls of the lean-to greenhouses in stacked trays.

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Environmental Control
Solar water heaters with radiant heat pex tubing along the container outside walls provide heating near the root zone of the plants. The shipping containers are air conditioned, insulated by a ceramic coating on the containers, closed cell foam, and the growing system itself. Evaporative coolers, shade cloths and misting fans provide cooling in the greenhouses.

“Curated Farm Boutique”
In a climate controlled “food boutique” container, The Farmery will sell a ”curated” selection of locally grown crops from artisanal farmers.

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DIY Home Vertical Farm
If you aren’t in the Raleigh area, you can purchase the just-introduced Farm Buddy, The Farmery’s version of felt panel vertical living wall. Farm Buddy uses a peat moss sponge growing substrate  known for high water retention, contains a built-in reservoir, and top flaps which form a backsplash to catch water runoff.

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Like other living wall panels on the market, Farm Buddy is modular so one can combine several to create a large green wall to grow a variety of food, ornamentals, or both.

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The Future: Neighborhood Urban Farm Stores
The Farmery team hopes to raise the value of produce through an educational and sensory retail experience that also reduces cost by consolidating the entire food distribution system into a single integrated site.

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Green and Nevers envision the neighborhood urban farm becoming as common as the corner store or bodega. The Farmery will be able to offer mushrooms, fish, greens and herbs for prices that meet or beat organic supermarket prices–all the while reestablishing relationships between urban consumers and their food by educating them about how their food is produced.

5 Cheap and Easy Fixes Before You List Your Home

DATE:JANUARY 9, 2013 | CATEGORY:TIPS & ADVICE | AUTHOR:

Thinking of listing your home? Of course, you’ll want to get the best possible price. Before you call a major renovation squad for a TV-style home makeover, try these cheap and easy fixes to increase your home’s appeal.

Declutter

Start with the easiest fix of all. Pack up and hide or store some of your possessions. Stash your collections of porcelain dolls or “Star Wars” figurines; the less of your stuff potential buyerssee, the more likely they will be to envision themselves — and their stuff — in the home.

Add curb appeal

Next, take a look at your home from the street. Could it benefit from a little landscaping? Clear away any dead plants, trim back limbs and bushes, and check out your local home improvement store’s garden section. Small flowering plants and other foliage is very affordable and easily adds instant charm.

Deep clean

The next easy fix is to clean. No, really clean. Pressure wash the driveway, and have your tile and carpets professionally cleaned. Clean your window treatments and remove scuff marks around the baseboards. All the little things that may go unnoticed from day to day will make the home look much better when they are all sparkly-clean.

Go neutral

Watch about 20 seconds of any real estate reality show and you’ll surely hear a prospective buyer lament about the owner’s poor choice in color. “Oh, it’s so … blue.” This is like nails on a chalkboard to real estate professionals because it is literally one of the easiest things to change. The solution: Repaint some of your boldest walls a good old off-white or beige neutral. It will also help you start to detach emotionally from your home as you enter the sale process.

Kitchens and bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms are the two rooms that really sell a home. Give them a quick mini-makeover by making a few inexpensive hardware changes; towel racks, accent shelves, even light switches and utility plate covers are cheap and easy to fix. Also, refer to No. 1 and stash your family photos on the refrigerator and deep-six the extensive pile of magazines in the restroom.

With these five tips, you can give your home a major makeover on a budget in the hundreds versus the thousands and get it ready to list for top dollar.

Related:

Samantha (Sam) DeBianchi is a Realtor and founder of DeBianchi Real Estate. Her expert real estate advice and straightforward approach can be seen and heard on FOX Business. Always keeping it REAL, you can follow Sam online on Twitter and Facebook.
 

Who's bright idea was this?

Nice…if this photo wasn’t taken on a breezy night in June.

“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”  ― Meister Eckhart

Carpé Diem.  Ten tips for waking up…

Perfect for small urban kitchen gardens or those with limited outdoor space, Pod is afogponic indoor gardening system for cultivating herbs and vegetables.

Similar to hydroponic gardening, the fogponic “plug-and-play” growing system automatically distributes nutrients and water as a fog or mist rather than liquid, rendering Pod easy to clean and maintain.

Bonus: it’s modular design also promotes cultivating community by sharing and exchanging produce with others.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/52987201 w=614&h=345]

Pod from Greenfingers on Vimeo.

Pod was created as a collaborative student project by industrial designers Casey LinAdam Ben-Dror, Robert Skene, Nick Johnston at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Via Yanko Design.

Cheery poinsettias make great holiday gifts.

Garden writer Ciscoe Morris offers tips on selecting and caring for a poinsettia, and reminds us to turn off irrigation systems as winter approaches.

Special to The Seattle Times

If you’re planning to give the special person in your life a poinsettia as a holiday gift, you aren’t alone. Poinsettias are the best-selling potted plant in the U.S., with well over 50 million sold during the six weeks before Christmas every year. Although there are more than 100 varieties available, if you’re really trying to impress that special someone, choose a red one. 

Read the whole article…Picking the perfect poinsettia | Ciscoe Morris | Home & Garden | The Seattle Times.

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Not shown: unicorn corral, candy trees and teleporter.

STREET CENTS | Full disclosure or risk a lawsuit

[Credit John Picken / flickr]

House surprises after the purchase?

If you buy a house and shortly after moving in you’re surprised to find a big crack in the foundation or the septic tank bubbling over, wouldn’t your first question be, “Did the seller know about this?” Seattle-area real estate appraiser Richard Hagar says it’s bad news all around if problems are not disclosed before the sale. Surprises like this not only mean headaches for the buyer but more times than not they lead to  lawsuits for the seller and his real estate agent. So, what exactly should a seller disclose?

Richard Hagar tells KPLU’s John Maynard that Washington state has some specific requirements for disclosure.

“The laws have undergone changes over the last 10 years, and in different states they have different disclosure laws, but the state of Washington wants you to disclose anything that is adverse to the property.”

Hagar says he’s often asked to serve as an expert witness in lawsuits involving buyers who didn’t know about a problem with a house, they buy it, and then discover that they are facing thousands of dollars in repairs.

“The buyers usually sue for large dollar amounts and in almost every case that I’ve been involved in, the real estate agent lost and the seller sometimes loses. But the courts are likely to get their pound of flesh for the buyer, one way or the other.”

Maynard says he wonders just how far you can stretch the concept of  “problems.” He wonders, for example, whether something like neighbors using leaf blowers should be disclosed.

“Those things are so loud, running from morning until dark. Bring back the 12-prong rake!”

Sadly, at least for Maynard, neighbors using leaf blowers do not need to be disclosed. But Hagar says it always helps if a potential buyer hangs around the neighborhood of the home they want to buy. You can pick up a lot, he says, by observing the rhythm of  a place, including when and where your potential neighbors use those pesky leaf blowers.

John & Richard talk about it…Listen (03:25)

Here’s a quick primer on the mortgage-interest deduction and related housing write-offs.

Syndicated columnist

 

Nation’s Housing

WASHINGTON — Limiting the homeowner mortgage-interest deduction came up in two of the presidential debates, but specifics about who would be affected and how much they might lose in tax benefits were minimal. To put some rough numbers on the issue, here’s a quick primer on the mortgage-interest deduction and related housing write-offs.

Read the whole article –> Mortgage deductions: What are the stakes | Homes & Real Estate | The Seattle Times.

If “OK” was a spectrum, home prices would be in the middle of it…