KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Jun 28 2010

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Education in a box

michelle-kaufmann-earthbox-1all photos by JB Spector / Museum of Science and Industry

One of my very favorite green products on the market is the Earthbox. The Earthbox doubles the yield of a conventional garden, with less water, less fertilizer, virtually no effort. They are great for adding to your courtyard, roof deck, balcony or backyard. Earthbox is also wonderful for countries short on water, healthy food and financial resources. They, along with The Growing Connection, have been doing a lot of work in places like Africa and Haiti, providing much needed healthy food in impoverished communities. Google even has Earthboxes in their HQ courtyards for growing food for their infamous organic and vegan employee cafeterias.

In addition, Earthboxes are a great educational tool.

Recently, I had a wonderful morning with the Bret Harte Elementary School 4th graders and Earthboxes in the garden of the Smart Home: Green + Wired at the Museum of Science + Industry. First, we planted a slew of boxes with the Smart Home’s Master Gardener Madiem Kawa. Madiem had themes for each box. There were boxes that were pizza, salsa, salad, Italian seasonings, Indian and even potpourri (some of the box “recipes” below photos). The students could each choose what type of box they wanted to plant, and the various ingredients and plants were discussed. The kids and I had a great time and learned about the importance of mixing certain plants along with flowers for pollination as well as repellents for the herbs.

After the planting, we cut some lettuce, mircogreens, chard and arugula that some of the students had planted the month before on Earth Day to make a salad for lunch. I am not sure there is a more satisfying or flavorful meal than one that comes from food you planted and harvested. The students were super enthusiastic about gardening and much more knowledgeable than I had been as a child about edible gardens, insects and even composting.

The Earthboxes not only provide beauty to the Smart Home, a wonderful experience, a tasty lunch, but also great education for the students (and myself).

Next, I want to work on ways to incorporate the Earthboxes into the roof and walls of homes.

That, and plant Earthboxes at our house. The low-maintenance garden is the one for me.

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Michelle Kauffman in the SmartHome
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Michelle Kauffman in the SmartHome
Michelle Kauffman in the SmartHome
Michelle Kauffman in the SmartHome
Master Gardener Madiem Kawa’s themed boxes (they were a huge hit):

lemon thyme, variegated marijoram, winter savory, oregeno, and marigold (flowers for pollination and repellent)

tarragon, sage, parsley, celery, and dianthus (flower)

basil, black beauty, eggplant, peppers, sorel, and dianthus (flower)

chamomile, lavender, citronella, and marigold (flower)

tomatoes, onions, jalapeno pepper, garlic and dianthus (flower)

The museum’s Earthboxes have been producing and providing food for people in the city.

Smart Home: Green + Wired

Michelle Kaufmann

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