After a PhD in agricultural engineering Chaoui worked as an academic researcher (2 postdocs) and at the Ontario ministry of agriculture. She published her research related to plant and soil health including papers on using earthworms and electricity to turn waste into fertilizer in peer reviewed journals (cited 230 times). She also authored government factsheets on processing organic waste. She has used excel automation and workflow charts to streamline work in research teams. More recently she worked as a technical seed manager where she used excel programs to process and demystify data to the community of agronomic crop growers. Chaoui also developed products for urban farming, including a suspended urban garden. The goal behind the products she developed is to turn kitchens into micro farms where waste is processed and used to fertilize indoor vertical gardens.
Chaoui’s Suspended Garden brings agriculture into small indoor spaces and empowers citizenship-agriculture. It differs from expensive, niche green walls because it can be made or bought (DIY instructions are available at the link), is low cost and requires no electricity or infrastructure (other than a ceiling): www.urbanfarmsorganic.com/plantpods.html. These gardens are ecologically sustainable because they enhance local food production and reduce the city’s ecological footprint and increase indoor air quality. They are are socially and economically sustainable and market-ready, generating local jobs when implemented in commercial vertical urban farms, simultaneously empowering urban residents to reduce food cost and improve diet quality.
The Suspended Garden is currently being sold in beta, and the artist welcomes input and suggestions.
Photo Credit: Laura Headley