Blog

Vertical Aquaponics

by Mickaël on June 12, 2016

The most productive out-of-ground systems often consume high levels of energy.

At times, the race for performance becomes more important than nutritional quality and creates food that is difficult to digest.

Bioponics and aquaponics offer interesting compromises. Both are efficient and natural, and work well even in a limited space area.

What is it?

Out-of-ground crops are favoured in restricted areas and where water supply is limited. This type of production in a controlled environment ensures a sufficient quantity of fruits and vegetables all year long. Even if these practices receive bad press, it is important to distinguish hydroponics from bioponics and aquaponics.

How does it work?

Fish feces supply nutrients in their water basin, which is in contact with the roots of the vegetables. A chemical transformation occurs, filters the water and feeds the crops. Afterwards, the filtered water is returned to the basin and the cycle continues. This takes place in a closed system.

How do we test it?

Focus is placed on the materials used. As a matter of fact, several types of plastic are not appropriate for the aquaponics bed. Many experiments have been documented with different types of support (full water, clay marbles, pebbles, shale). An aquarium pump or a small condensate pump should be included to ensure water circulation between the basins.

What does myfood propose?

We offer a vertical tower kit with integrated support and basin. Configurations of 6 to 24 towers can be perfectly integrated with the smart greenhouse. A mobile application allows you to watch over the health of your farm and we notify you in case a manual intervention is needed. That way, the daily maintenance of our solution remains under 20 minutes.

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MickaëlVertical Aquaponics

Transparency

by Mickaël on February 10, 2016

We have access to a world of wonderful communication modes to help us build both a network and a community.

The open-source spirit that we base our principles on offers the chance to share information and results with this new, growing community of individuals who wish to bring important changes in our society.

The algorithms that myfood wishes to embark on developing will evolve with time and optimize food production for all of our Pioneer Citizens. By moving forward together, we can make change happen.

Our values are set on this global vision, which is definitively on the path of transparency.

Johan Nazaraly, Core Team MemberJanuary 2016
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MickaëlTransparency

Responsibility

by Mickaël on February 10, 2016

The harsh reality of our modern society is watching corporations privatize living things through international patents. Their actions also cause extreme soil depletion with the excessive use of toxic monoculture.

The myfood solution includes:
First, the symbiotic relationship between plant and fish that inherently bans harmful chemical fertilizers.
Then applies permaculture principles, thus self-regenerating the soil.

Producing one’s own food saves an unimaginable quantity of useless transportation for our planet.

We also encourage reusing our own, personal organic household “trash” by using compost or vermicompost, as well as the use of rainwater, which is chocked full of nutrients.

Rediscover the nutritional properties of vegetables packed with essential vitamins and minerals, as well as the real taste of healthy food.

Mickaël Gandecki, Core Team MemberJanuary 2016
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MickaëlResponsibility

Simplicity

by Mickaël on February 10, 2016

Global warming, which is linked to industrial pollution as well as food transportation, is slowly reaching a point of no return.

We believe that simplicity is bringing the different locations of food production closer together. Less time on the road means less energy needed for storage and fresher more nutritious produce.

Therefore, we are offering a concept of turnkey solutions targeted at individuals.

This will allow taking control over the vegetables we consume, starting from the seed and ending with the fruit.

The computer-controlled management of the greenhouse’s environment (air/water temperature, air renewal, humidity, carbon dioxide levels) and the aquaponics’ water circuit (electrical conductivity, pH levels) ensure a consistent food production over a small footprint.

The concept is based on low, controlled energy consumption as well as a much-diminished carbon footprint.

Matthieu Urban, Core Team MemberJanuary 2016
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MickaëlSimplicity

Smart Greenhouse

by Mickaël on January 10, 2016

Being able to produce all year-round may seem impossible, especially during the cold winter months.

A lack of sun and low temperatures often signify the end of many vegetables’ growth period. With the use of myfood’s Smart Greenhouse, however, the growing season may be extended by more than a month and the grower can get an early start on seedlings.

We work with many high-end greenhouses (14 and 22m2) that do not require a building permit and are highly regarded within the European marketplace. Anchored into the ground, made of aluminum die-cast and toughened security glass, they are ready to withstand extreme weather events. The four skylights open automatically in order to passively regulate the temperature and the humidity levels. We can complete an installation in one day.

How does it work?

Installing a greenhouse at an individual’s home offers new possibilities. There are many species of vegetables that can grow in very cold areas of the globe. We supply non-hybrid, non-GMO seeds with these astonishing properties. Therefore, permaculture beds installed in the greenhouse will continue to produce all year long.

How do we test it?

With just a few wood planks and a plastic exterior, we can build a frame. Its low volume allows temperatures to increase fairly quickly, even during cold seasons. It’s an ideal setting for winter lettuce, leeks and cabbage.

What does myfood offer?

We move on location to meet our Pioneer-Citizens. We install the greenhouse flawlessly. Then we support the initiatives that could be launched at the local level in order to pass the message around about the steps needed in order to become food-independent. Furthermore, the greenhouse is not just a production tool; it’s also a citizen’s personal action. We suggest connecting the greenhouse by adding a radiation or air quality sensor, which can be also used to inform the community about such important environmental information.

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MickaëlSmart Greenhouse

Permaculture Bed

by Mickaël on January 7, 2016

Caring for a vegetable garden often leads to back pain.

Season after season, the soil requires hours of preparation.

Self-fertilizing mounds require very little effort to install them and better yet, they will live in harmony with their environment.

What is it?

It is a mound of earth measuring one metre in width by three metres in length, and is almost one metre high. The basic idea is to reproduce a sustainable and rich ecosystem just like the one found in a forest. That is the principal of agroforestry. By combining different types of elements and matching the vegetables properly, the mound becomes self-fertilizing. You won’t have to take care of it anymore!

How does it work?

First, you need to dig several dozen centimeters in the ground to insert dead wood logs that are already decomposing in order to stock rainwater. Then, the mound is formed with a mixture of sandy earth, clay and compost. The last step is to cover it with a layer of Ramial Chipped Wood on top of the mound to make sure the ground won’t become compacted.

How do you test it?

All you need is a balcony or a small area to set up a garden. You can then observe how life is attracted to the mound: bacteria, mushrooms and worms. This abundance creates a resilient environment. To begin, you can plant tomatoes and lettuce along with a few herbs and flowers.

What does myfood suggest?

To create a mound, quite a lot of earth needs to be moved. Proper logistics are needed as well in order to manage and gather all the required materials. That is why myfood takes on the responsibility of deploying the mound by bringing a rich, garden-quality soil and adding organic charcoal (or biochar) to it. The biochar increases the softness of the ground to help reach a very high level of production.

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MickaëlPermaculture Bed

Restorative Mulching

by Mickaël on January 5, 2016

Maintaining a lawn or a bit of green can be costly and at times, quite a chore.

Month after month, a fair portion of time has to be dedicated to it.

You can transform pretty much any green space into a productive, sustainable garden using one simple technique: spreading Ramial Chipped Wood (RCW) directly on the ground.

What is it?

Ramial Chipped Wood (RCW) is made of shredded young, small wood branches, mainly from non thorny trees. This technique was discovered accidently in Canada during the 80s. Tested but forgotten in Europe, RCW use in permaculture has sprung back slowly but surely since 2005. It is the base material in order to cover and enrich soil composition.

How does it work?

The goal is to decompress the earth and render it alive again. Covering the ground with organic wood is the first step to regenerate it. Slowly but surely, bacteria, mushrooms and worms will reappear to loosen and alleviate the earth, revive the ground and ultimately make it become more productive. Afterwards, the next goal is to adequately match edible vegetables following permaculture principles.

How do you test it?

In autumn or at the beginning of spring, gather 2 to 5 cm branches of hardwood. With an electric shredder, you will obtain the RCW in question. The earth needs to be in direct contact with its amendment support so, before spreading it, we suggest you use a grelinette (a combination of hoe and rake) to soften the ground first.

What does myfood propose?

RCW has many qualities but one sole issue to point out: the “nitrogen hunger” phenomena that occurs during the first year. As a matter of fact, while it decomposes during the first few months, the wood consumes an important amount of nitrogen from the ground. That is why we offer pre-composted RCW mixed with a blend of compost and clay-humus complex to increase assimilation.

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MickaëlRestorative Mulching

Roadmap

by Mickaël on December 25, 2015

We evolve every day

thanks to you and to the Citizen Pioneer community

  • August 15, 2015

    Beginning of the Innovation camp POC21 at Millemont

  • September 20, 2015

    Final exhibition at POC21
    Presentation of the myfood prototype version 0.2:
    • Use of a 22m² greenhouse with 12 aquaponics vertical towers
    • Add 1000L tank
    • Add auto-fertile beds
    • Add monitoring system OpenGarden / Arduino YUN

  • October 2, 2015

    Launch of myfood Citizen Pioneer program

  • November 20, 2015

    Install myfood kit version 0.21 at a Pioneer Citizen site:
    • Add radiation measurement kit
    • Add data sharing with Safecast.org

  • December 5, 2015

    Exhibit at ESCP for COP21
    Presentation of myfood kit version 0.3:
    • Improved support with integrated 24 vertical towers
    • Add semi-transparent solar panels

  • December 20, 2015

    500 followers for the myfood newsletter

  • January 10, 2016

    Deployment of auto-fertile beds at Pioneer Citizen site:
    • Use of semi-composted BRF
    • Add biochar to the soil mix
    • Use Open Source seeds

  • February 27, 2016

    Exhibition at the Salon de l’Agriculture
    Presentation of myfood prototype version 0.4:
    • Add integrated pellet stove
    • Improved support for vertical towers
    • Improving support of semi-transparent solar panels

  • Mid-April 2016

    Presentation of myfood City prototype version 0.1

  • Mid-April - June 2016

    Deployment of the aquaponic kits Family14, Family22 on Pioneer Citizens sites

  • July 2, 2016

    1000 followers for the myfood newsletter

  • Mid-July - August 2016

    Major product improvements based on Pioneer Citizens feedback
    Industrialization and setup of an automated supply chain

  • Mid-September - November 2016

    Second Deployment of the aquaponic kits City, Family14, Family22 on Pioneer Citizens sites

  • December 5, 2016

    Exhibition at “Société du Grand Paris”
    Presentation of myfood prototype version 0.5:
    • Add Sigfox connectivity module
    • Add web-app for online monitoring

  • February 3, 2017

    6000 followers for the myfood newsletter
    2000 followers on Facebook
    2000 followers on Twitter

  • February 25, 2017

    Exhibition at the Salon de l’Agriculture
    Presentation of myfood prototype version 0.6:
    • Add smart push notifications (recipes, sensors)
    • Add AI features based on visual recognition (production estimation, system health)

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MickaëlRoadmap

FAQ

by Mickaël on November 30, 2015

Questions about myfood?

Circa 2010, a group of friends including myself asked ourselves:  “What are the most useful ways to invest in society in order to counter rapidly increasing unemployment?”  Naturally, our reflection did not steer us towards the stock market, but instead towards a way of repositioning ourselves towards producing goods on a small scale. For myfood, this meant empowering people to grow food. From this point on, we started experimenting with anything that seemed to fit within the world of makers and tech developers.

We offer simple solutions that give individuals the key to producing their own food to feed their family and community. To create this little wonder, we took inspiration from the most effective permaculture techniques in order to regenerate the soil, and linked it with aquaponics (a symbiosis between fish and plants with vertical growing towers). Furthermore, to minimize our solution’s daily maintenance, we added Open-Source hardware that automates certain routine tasks.

Yes, it’s contains a greenhouse, but it is not only a greenhouse. We offer turnkey solutions that are accessible to gardeners from beginners to experts. Our production units are deployable in one day. After half a day of training, the user has everything they need to start growing. Our greenhouses are connected with one another and exchange information regularly for intelligent and optimal use.

Our solutions range from 1m2 to 22m2. The largest model, the family22 model requires an area of 22m². This greenhouse’s aim is to help folks grow up to 500 kg of food annually. Other users who not do have that space available will find that our 3,5m2 City is an ideal solution. The Balcony Bioponic Tower is designed for users who want to start small or only have access to a balcony or small deck yet still want to easily grow a lot of fresh vegetables.

In order to understand the environmental impact, one needs to fully consider the whole picture: the amount of energy consumed in the process of industrial farming, as well as the transporting, packaging, preserving and marketing of products purchased regularly. By decentralizing food production and bringing it into the yard of the consumer, the carbon footprint and energy consumption is far less than that consumed during the mass distribution of goods. Meanwhile,  a microprocessor consumes only a few watts of energy and is powered by semi-transparent solar panels on the rooftop of the greenhouse.

We could never have advanced as fast as we have without the free tools we use every day (WordPress, Odoo, Raspberry Pi etc.). This is why our application’s source code is published under a Creative Common BY-SA-NC license. Nevertheless, we are still a supplier of a solution with that can be delivered and installed within 3 weeks.

Currently, our contributors and Citizen-Pioneers are helping by financing their own installations. In order to advance product development, make our solution more accessible and mature, we are corresponding with and accepting inquiries from interested investors.

Since COP21, the development camp where myfood was born, we have been receiving many comments and contributions from people who help provide a new outlook on our work. When we receive feedback, we integrate the user comments into our continuous improvement process within five weeks, regardless of whether the improvement is linked to the environmental and social impact or the ergonomics of the solution.

Around 50 contributors currently share their knowledge, help with content publication (articles, videos, proofreading, etc.), and test the solution. We have completed two deployment campaigns in Europe by installing nearly 30 smart greenhouses in recent months.

We are tackling a core social and environmental problem. It is crucial to maintain a commitment from the highest number of people possible and to have the biggest leverage in order to produce compelling results. Therefore, through the commitment of the community, the Open-Source initiatives have already shown their relevancy.  That is why we insist on maintaining transparency in this fashion.

One should try to learn to work start with simple problems with simple solutions. Most needs are very simple and do not require complex solutions. Elegance is created through simplicity. There is a need for creating, for creating simply, and for testing more than arguing. In the end, what counts is what exists, what has been proven and simply produced.

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MickaëlFAQ

Coming Soon

by Mickaël on April 26, 2014

Coming Soon

we are working hard to get everything ready on time.

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we are working hard to get everything ready on time.

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Home

by Mickaël on April 8, 2014

Our Vision

We believe that sustainable food production and security can be achieved in every backyard

See our Tutorials Contribute on Hackster.io

Our 4-step approach

Like plants, myfood grows with you

Restorative Mulching

Regenerate your soil by covering it with a layer of compost and organic wood.

Permaculture Bed

Create self-fertile beds in the garden with a lively soil mix and biochar to increase your production.

Smart Greenhouse

Install a greenhouse that regulates the climate of your garden and connects you with up-to-date information.

Vertical Aquaponics

Adopt some fish and integrate vertical aquaponic towers to complete the system.

Your opinion interests us

Our Goal

We are advisers and solution providers for Pioneer Citizens seeking to produce their own food

A new collective awareness is emerging – we’re taking control of our food system.
Many people, however, seem to believe that food autonomy is out of reach. Some lack knowledge, some lack space, while others lack clear information.
But myfood is excited to announce that it’s now possible to produce our own food in a simple, accessible and transparent manner. No prior experience required.

Mickaël Gandecki, Core Team MemberSeptember 2015, POC21

Our Values

Our work is based on these principles

We propose easy to handle, sustainable and energy efficient solutions

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We only work with first-class organic seeds and well-documented hardware from open source initiatives

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We share our knowledge based on open source principles and our love for community engagement

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Get notified when we’re ready to ship

Subscribe to our newsletter and follow our new adventures

Our Pioneer Citizen Network

We are growing in Europe. Soon we start in the USA and Canada

You want to contribute and help us right away?

We need volunteers to test our prototypes and get reviews before commercialization

Blog

Our Fans

They support us and it really matters

Media we’ve met

They help us to spread our goodness

Our Academic Partners

They share knowledge and support us

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Blog

by Mickaël on April 1, 2014
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