Ark Feed

SPORE v2: a vertical farming facility for mushroom cultivation

The original hoophouse designs for the ArkFab farm have an estimated lifetime of only four years... and they don't stack. I took the multistage bioconversion process from these first designs and incorporated it into a standard repurposed shipping container structure with an estimated lifetime of 10 years.

DIY Spectro II

There is a companion article focussing on the technical details of this project over at TopologicOceans

At long last, second generation DIY spectro has arrived!

The spectrophotometer. Yes, that is an invisibility cloak. You can't see the stuff that's under it can you? Then that stuff is invisible!

Garage Mycology

Great news! ArkFab is a finalist in the Georgia Tech Ideas 2 Serve Business Competition. This makes us eligible for a $2,000 prize that could help us move on from our garage. Like many start-ups we're using the space and resources we have to make our way. ArkFab currently operates a small wet lab and a few garden plots where my fellow collective members Nicole Bluh, Vincent Castillenti, and I are experimenting with natural and intensive mushroom cultivation. Here is a photo tour of our "garage" facilities:

Building Capacity for Vertical Farming in Atlanta

We're developing a vertical farming capacity building program in Atlanta. Our greenhouses can provide the Truly Living Well Wheat Street Garden, a training center for urban agriculture in downtown Atlanta, with capabilities for mushroom cultivation and eventually, through integrating systems, aquaponics production. Our multistage bioconversion process cultivates gourmet mushrooms, vegetables, and fish by upcycling organic waste streams from local businesses.

The ArkFab Open Source Living Machine Series

Living machines are conventionally known to be engineered biological systems that treat waste water. ArkFab living machines extend this definition to convert any kind of organic waste into value-added products, like food, fuel, biomaterials, or ecosystem services like wastewater treatment.

DIY Spectro

UPDATE: This project has been lifted out of the stone age and into the information age, with Arduino/Python based automation. Check out DIY Spectro II!
For the last while I have been concentrating on a project: developing an easily built spectrophotometer for low budget and DIY laboratories.

Irrigationless Urban Food Production

Image credit to Mike Low - click the image to see his aquaponics site

Hackspace Research Update

Since 2007 there has been a radical growth in the application and reach of hacker culture. No longer limited to the computer underground, principles of the hacker ethic now pervade contemporary corporate software development and the backbone one of the world's largest economic infrastucture, the internet. This comes as no surprise because many experts and leading professionals in the field of computer science are also leaders of the hacker subculture.

Why techno-social intervention?

The tools of biotechnology have been used for the past three decades
within a very limited socio-economic regime. The logic of innovation
and competition within venture capitalism commodifies and privatizes
humanity's common genetic resources placing control of vast industries
like agriculture and medicines in the hands of the few. Companies in
this environment innovate new technological interventions to increase
market share and profit and in doing so often degrade our commons and

ArkFab BioLab

Two weeks ago we received our first micro-investment for a biotech spin-off. Liam and his business partner, Jonathan Tescher, will be launching a mushroom business, Imperial Mushrooms, out of the ArkFab BioLab. The BioLab build-out is currently underway and will be the first of our collective's laboratories. We envision producing mushroom spawn, yeast cultures for brew not bombs (BNB), cheese for the local dairy coop, rhizopus for FNB tempeh, public health bioassays, and in the future algae and kombucha bioreactors and other commons biocultures.