Green Aker: These kits let you make your own urban farm

There’s been a recent crowdfunding trend for indoor gardens — a way for apartment dwellers to grow their own vegetables beyond a single tomato plant or pot full of mint that sit on many city-dwellers’ window sills. But for those with a little more space who want a full-on backyard farm, there are ways to get a Green Acres lifestyle without moving to the country.

Aker makes open-source urban-farming kits that will help you create your own backyard barnyard. Test your green thumb with GroGrid, a raised planter bed with an included trellis, or help the honeybee population buzz back with the EcoHive, which has room for 25 combs. The WormHaus is an indoor composting bin that uses worms to turn food waste into soil. For those who already have a chicken coop, a “chicken tractor” called the EggHaus gives two hens a little more room to roam. Just need somewhere to stick your indoor plants? Try the wall-mounted GroWall.

You can use any of Aker’s files to “print” these urban-farm fundamentals on a CNC router (here’s a resource to help you find one in your area), or you can purchase them pre-made of Baltic Birch plywood through the company’s Indiegogo campaign. If you buy the GroGrid, you have the option of donating another to a low-income family through the nonprofit Revision.

Once the kit arrives, the pieces snap together without tools. The prices for each piece of equipment vary, with the GroGrid at $100 and the WormHaus at $300. The rest of them fall in between; you can buy the EggHaus and EcoHive for $250 each. If you’re going full bore on the project, it might make sense to just download all the files for $50 and do the work yourself.

The team is shooting for delivery in May of this year, just in time for spring chickens.

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