Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ready, Set, Build!

In addition to "50 Shades of Green," [see below], Productive Collective is also embarking on a project through the Gateway Initiative at the Boston Architectural College. The Gateway Initiative pairs groups of BAC students with non-profits who need design work, research, or a small build project - but don't have the funds to hire traditional professionals. Our students, working in teams with a faculty adviser, work on the project through the semester [sometimes beyond], and our community clients end up with a product they can use - and leverage for future funding to hire professional designers, raise money for improvements and programming, etc. This Spring, the Gateway Initiative is running 19 projects with 102 students - and Productive Collective is part of the party!

Productive Collective's Gateway project, led by PC members Dan Weissman and Marilyn Moedinger, is a collaboration with Codman Academy Public Charter School in Dorchester, which is the only public school in the state paired with a community health center. Working with Codman [and another Gateway team, led by Elizabeth Christoforetti and Jon Evans of Utile], we will help Codman identify zones on their campus fit for urban agriculture installations, install an indoor aquaponics system [with 50 tilapia!], and engage high school students in caring for these systems and installations. BAC students in the "50 Shades" workshop and across the two Gateway projects, totaling about 20 students, will be working with each other at strategic points during the semester, with the goal of producing a series of reports based on research and design completed this semester. If this sounds a bit chaotic, well, it kind of is - as we chart new territories and new methods of collaboration and research, we'll be learning all along the way.

This semester's work will be a huge boost to PC's research, and the best part? Student and community involvement throughout the whole process! Stay tuned...

Monday, January 28, 2013

50 Shades of 'Green'

50 Shades Of Green is an Advanced Architectural Workshop at the Boston Architectural College charged with researching and critiquing the status quo of sustainable technologies in order to propose new lifestyles, performative systems, and productive surfaces.

The workshop, taught by Productive Collective members Lauren Shirley and Kyle Sturgeon is entering it's second week of the 15 week semester. Check out the workshop blog for a course description and to follow our online discussions!

Dreaming of another (grow) bed...

We're in the process of producing a WApU manual and it gave me the opportunity to draw WApU Davis with an additional growbed - I just need to find a + manifold for the 1/2" pipe!

This would get us a bit closer to the proper ratio of tank to grow bed volume (1:1) and would take advantage of the high nitrate levels we have in our tank. Don't worry - its quite stable and the fish are very happy.

Monday, January 21, 2013

WaPU Willow: with fish!

I've got fishes! Kyle and I went over to Big Fish Little Fish today, our favorite local Somerville pet store, and picked up these two goldfish for my WaPU. After following the acclimation instructions to the letter, I set them free - they seem to love their new home, which includes some other accessories I thought they might like. Owing to a tank heater mishap, I've decided to go cold water, which means goldfish and maybe catfish. The plan is to let them settle in for a week or two [did you know that when fish are sad or stressed, their top fin flops over?] and get a few more fish. Then, I'll let all the fish settle in for another few days, and then I'll be ready to hook up the plants. Sounds like a trip to our other favorite local haunt, Grow Your Own, this weekend!