'MEGGA-watt?' Rise of the Food Garage
Fresh off of a win in 'The Carbon Farmer's 'Face Your Footprint' contest, The 'MEGGA-watt?' Project (Micro-Energy Generating Garage Assembly) is a demonstration / prototype to turn everyday detached garages from simple storage units (aka 'car-holes') into carbon-positive food growing and renewable energy-generating systems using urban permaculture design.
The basic concept is to partner a garage with an attached greenhouse and renewable energy to create sustainable 4-season growing systems with minimal fossil fuel input that serves both practical and recreational purposes. Owners of a MEGGA can then customize how they want the system to function and what and how they want to grow.
Surrounded by an urban perennial food forest, this project prototype takes a 24'x26' two-car garage and couples it with a 23ft off-grid 4-season geodesic dome greenhouse. The greenhouse will be accessed through the heated garage which will host:
*a 6000L aquaponic system to raise tilapia and red claw crayfish,
*a rainwater catchment system to fill the fish tanks and water the greenhouse,
*a 7'x9'-32-tray aeroponic system for growing microgreens and wheat grass,
*an 8'x8' walk-in cold storage,
*a solar PV array on the south-facing exterior wall,
*and in the greenhouse a climate battery and rocket mass heater (coppiced wood-fired) hot tub!
There will even be enough room in the garage for a small workshop and/or one parking space!
Developed by Permaculture Designer, Rene Michalak at a 1/5-acre urban homestead, this project will demonstrate sustainable urban living to the community and the rest of the world as it leverages the practice of urban homesteading and the success of the existing edible forest and SPIN-gardens on site.
The fundraising goal is $15,000 to purchase the remaining components of the MEGGA-watt, and to develop a complete business plan including engineering blueprints for the prototype. Once the prototype is complete it can be scaled up for commercial use (e.g., new residential developments) and incorporation into urban agriculture projects in the region (e.g., Community Urban Farms). The business plan will help us secure the investment dollars to complete the prototype and both sales and consulting fees will help generate revenue for an urban ag worker cooperative with contributions going back to ReThink Red Deer to help make the organization financially sustainable.
In support of Open-Source Ecology, the project component details and general system plans have been made available through a Creative Commons license - please visit www.foodgarage.ca or visit the 9-part blog!