Last weekend (May 22-23), my team of San Francisco Bay Area WindowFarmers exhibited a 10-column set of WindowFarms at the 5th annual Maker Faire in San Mateo. Maker Faire brings together science, art, craft and engineering plus music in a fun, energized, and exciting public forum. The aim is to inspire people of all ages to roll up their sleeves and become makers. Our team thought Maker Faire would be the perfect venue to display WindowFarms, and we were right!
Friday morning we took two cars full of plants, bottles, supplies, and our giant PVC frame up to the San Mateo Fairgrounds. We picked up our nametags and our Maker Faire booth sign, and carted our materials over to the HomeGrown Village. I was surprised that several of the staff setting up the event knew and recognized WindowFarms, and had been checking us out online before Maker Faire.
We spent Friday setting up and waiting for the power to come online so we could plug in our WindowFarms, and water our baby plants! They had a rough time, and the wind was something else. After securing our exhibit, we headed home for a good night’s sleep before the festival.
Saturday morning we got up bright and early, and encountered the crowd before we even exited the freeway. They say that last year over 70,000 people attended Maker Faire, and this year they expected even more. We quickly found parking and headed in to man the WindowFarms booth. What an exciting day!
Over Saturday and Sunday, we had a constant crowd of between 10-30 people at the WindowFarms booth – a crowd of smart, enthusiastic, curious, and creative individuals, families, entrepreneurs, and makers. We ran out of cards in the first couple hours because there was so much interest, and we must have said our spiel hundreds and hundreds of times. I’m surprised we didn’t lose our voices.
On Sunday afternoon, a Maker Faire staff stopped by our booth and awarded us the Make Magazine Editor’s Choice Award – a fancy blue ribbon! Basically it means they thought WindowFarms were REALLY cool. We are hoping they will write something up in Make Magazine about WindowFarms, as we are right in-line with their mission, and it would be great for more people to read about our community and design.
Sunday evening, we carefully removed our baby plants from our WindowFarms, tore down our exhibit, loaded the vehicles, unloaded back at my apartment, and celebrated.
Look for more posts soon about our WindowFarms construction process and an update on how they are doing now that we are setting them up in our respective houses.
If you saw us at Maker Faire and want to get in touch, comment on this post!
Press from WindowFarms at Maker Faire 2010:
Art, Madness, and Electronics at Maker Faire 2010 (Wired)
Maker Faire 2010 in the HOMEGROWN Village: WindowFarms
Maker Faire 2010 Projects and Makers by topic
Photo on Flickr by BentWright
HOMEGROWN Village and Maker Faire Team Up Again to Showcase Makers in Food, Farming, and Modern Homesteading
Annual Maker Faire’s ideas for sustainable food
Grow Food Vertically in Windows and Walls of your Home with Hydroponic Gardening (video)
Our Maker Faire Profile Page
Growing Ideas (South African Gardening Blog)
Urban Window Farm (photo from Jen_Hansen on Flickr)
Maker Faire Highlights on RefreshRenewExplore
Maker Faire Happiness