Copyright © Urban Farms Organic, Inc., 2011 | Products by UFO are made in Canada

In order to close the plant nutrient cycle, we need to turn waste to fertilizer in the home, without odours, flies or hard work, and add it to edible plants grown in the available small vertical spaces. This can be achieved with a micro-farm in every apartment. 
Why vertical structures for growing plants?
Modular Plant containers that suspend from the ceiling allow using vertical space (and no floor space) to grow plants indoors. This means residences, condos, offices will be able to co-produce their food.
Why organic fertilizer?
To close the plant nutrient loop, food waste has to be stabilized (dried) and turned to organic fertilizer. Organic fertilizer enhances the quality of edible plants. It also allows plants to become a sink for processed waste. This is the definition of growing food from a renewable source of plant nutrients.  Synthetic (NPK) fertilizers result in quantity over quality, since they cause plants to produce more structural carbohydrates and less nutritious compounds, in order to grow and compete for light. This affects the plant's taste and health value. NPK salts also inhibit soil microbes that aerate the soil and supply plant roots with oxygen. Recycled kitchen waste, which is free, can be used instead to produce Quality Low Input Food at home. 

How to produce organic fertilizer without odours?
One stabilized, waste can be fed to earthworms (vermicasting). This process is aerobic and does not produce odours as anaerobic processes do. In vermicasting earthworms burrow and aerate the soil. Waste passes through their gut where fungi is consumed and moist bacteria that would have existed in the aerated material, dies from lack of oxygen in the gut. The organic material passing through is ground and partly mineralized. The results is a granular material egested by earthworms. It consists of release granules with a mud casing and an organic core that releases plant nutrients gradually. Given the right feed composition, and at the right feed to earthworm and earthworms to air ratio, Vermicasting can have 2-3 weeks turnover rate and produce high quality fertilizer. 

Why dry waste?
Drying inhibits microbial activity in waste, and therefore prevents odours. Dry (or frozen) food waste can be used to produce a fertilizer extract. Composting and vermicasting mineralize immobilized nutrients, but some plant nutrients are already in the mineral form in plants, and only need a simple mechanism, such as steeping in hot water, to be released. The result is a liquid organic fertilizer, and some solid residue. Food waste needs to be dried or frozen before it ferments, in order to be used for extracting liquid fertilizer. If food waste could be dried in minutes, it would never produce odour, and it can be steeped to become an instant, balanced organic liquid fertilizer, processed into solid waste, or conveniently stored for less frequent municipal pick ups. 
Research Papers
Efficiency of organic farming; a 21 years study
Protein Content of organic produce
Synthetic vs. Organic fertilizers
Innovative technologies for organic farming, in CIGR, ASABE and Innovative Science
Vermicasting biosolids

Organic agriculture basics
Quality Low Input Food
Vertical (sky scrapers) Farms 
OMAFRA factsheet on Vermicasting (by UFO's)
In Innovative Science: Why Organic Urban Farming? (by UFO's) 
Engineering as applied to organic farming (by UFO's)
Urban Farms Organic
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