This living sculpture is designed to inspire participation in lowering greenhouse gas emissions through personal, local food production. It is a functional chandelier, water fountain, garden and fish farm – all in one interconnected, constructed ecosystem. Based on the concept of aquaponics, this hanging garden fountain uses pump, along with gravity to flow the nutrients from fish waste through the plant roots. Traditional hydroponics systems require chemical fertilizers, which we wanted to avoid due to their connection to the petroleum industry. So we based our project on the ancient practice of aquaponics, which combines fish farming with gardening by making use of fish waste to feed nutrients to plants, which in turn, cleanse and purify the water for the fish. In our vertical design, nutrient rich water is periodically pumped to the top and gravity causes it to flow through the planters in each successive tier, aerating the water, nurturing the beneficial, cleansing bacteria and feeding each plant’s roots.This project is an experiment in local, sustainable agriculture and recycling. It utilizes 2-liter plastic soda bottles as planters and continuously recycles the water in the system to create a symbiotic relationship between edible plants, fish and humans. The work creates an indoor healthy environment that also provides oxygen and light to the humans working and moving through the space. The sound of water trickling through the plant containers creates a peaceful, relaxing waterfall. The Koi and Tilapia fish that are part of this project also provide a focus for relaxed viewing.
In our Home Version (Farm Fountain 3) we have grown and eaten Tilapia fish, swiss chard, bok choi, lettuce, basil, chives, parsley, water cress, cilantro, tyme, oregano, rosemary, and tomatoes at home year-round. We built a large-scale Museum Version (Farm Fountain 4) for an exhibition at the Te Papa Museum in New Zealand. Tilapia are considered a pest species there, so we were not allowed to have them, so we included only goldfish in that system.
Farm Fountain is a collaborative, open-source project by artists Ken Rinaldo and Amy Youngs. We hope you will be inspired to create one yourself. Please visit our illustrated “How-To” pages posted on our Farm Fountain project webpage to see how we made our home version.