We don't know many decor and gift shops with a patch of lettuce and tomatoes just out the door, but LA's ReForm School is committed to many aspects of sustainable design. Since last month, shop owners Billie and Tootie have been tending to their very own MinifarmBox on the sidewalk in front of their Silver Lake store. After curiously passing by it several times, we finally decided to take a closer look.
Created by local writer and gardener Conor Fitzpatrick, the MinifarmBox comprises a hand-crafted redwood or cedar box (sustainably farmed and sealed with non-toxic flax oil), a drip irrigation system, organic planting soil, heirloom seeds, and an instruction guide. Not only does Fitzpatrick make and sell the boxes, he delivers and installs them complete and ready-to-grow for anyone with a sunny patch of space – homeowners, apartment dwellers, or, in the case of ReForm School, even businesses.
MinifarmBoxes come in three sizes: 2' x 4', 4' x 4', and 4' x 8'. The smallest "patio box" has casters. Prices range from $159 to $289, and while this is not a small investment, we were impressed with the craftsmanship of the box and all of the components and service make the price seem well worth it. What's more, one MinifarmBox will supposedly grow up to 70 heads of lettuce, 80 pounds of tomatoes, and other vegetables such as eggplants, zucchini, melons, beets, and beans.
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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