This is our way of teaching children how to be healthy and self-reliant, all while spreading the amazing innovation of "non-circulating hydroponics" which allows you to grow food without using electricity.
Of course, you still need to add sunlight. One reader asked me how they were supposed to grow food without electricity when their grow lights use electricity. My answer? There's a giant fusion-powered light generator in the sky called the SUN. It's one of the very last things that's still free in this world and that the government hasn't yet figured out how to tax. So take advantage of it while you can.
As promised, we'll be publishing the names of the public schools receiving the units, along with the churches and community centers. (We're keeping the home school names private for their privacy protection, as many of them are private residences.)
The last time I checked, we were nearly at 200 approved donation requests, with more coming in each day! We'll be at 250 soon. If your school, church or community center would like a donation of this amazing food production system, you can find donation request instructions at this link.
We've also posted a lot of really useful information to help you get the most out of your own grow boxes.
This Grow box plant guide helps you determine which grow box lid will work best with the plants you're trying to grow. The "preferred lid" number refers to the number of holes in the lid. The more holes there are, the smaller the plants. A 9-hole lid, for example, is great for growing lettuce.
This new Grow Box assembly guide walks you through the steps of assembling and testing your Mini-Farm Grow Box. More photos will be added in a day or two...
Finally, this guide explains how to print and assemble your own self-water float valve using the 3D-printable parts I designed and posted on FoodRising.org.
Funny story: One reader was shopping at Supply Source and complained about the price of the pre-built grow box system there (which actually comes with premium plant food, coconut coir, a rugged HDPE bin, and so on, making it a great value). They were complaining with something like, "I could make this myself for thirty dollars!" My answer? "Dude, PLEASE make it yourself!"
I've been encouraging this from day one: Make these systems yourself! That's why I posted the videos for free, showing you exactly how to do that. Frankly, I'm up to my eyeballs in bins, lids and thousands of pounds of plant food fertilizers. I've got 3D printers running 24/7 and can barely keep up with the demand. The more people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and make their own systems, the easier my day gets!
On the sad side of things, do you recall all those awesome lettuce plants I showed you on the videos at FoodRising.org?
Half of them have been eaten by a mysterious creature.
In the middle of the night, some creature was sneaking onto the grow boxes and greedily eating the lettuce. The consumption pattern seemed too large for a field mouse, and too small for something like a jackrabbit.
So I set up a live capture rodent trap and baited it with coconut and almonds. Yum!!
The next morning, guess what?
NABBED HIM! This rodent was huge! That cage is six inches tall -- a lot taller than it looks in the picture, it turns out. This giant rat was so huge that his pockets were filled with receipts from the Golden Corral, and he asked me to validate his parking before letting him go.
Check out the interesting ears (very small), nose (very large) and feet (spread out). Fascinating rodent. But definitely eating way too much of my awesome lettuce.
So of course I released him a few miles away in a wooded area, hoping he doesn't have crazy amazing animal homing magnets in his head to find his way back to my remaining lettuce.
There's a rodent control lesson in all this: be prepared to humanely capture and relocate all the animals that will want to eat your awesome lettuce. While animals won't eat Velveeta or many other processed foods, they will go crazy over your amazing grow box veggies and fruits.