Grow Your Own Food Year-Round with DIY Solar Greenhouse

A futuristic greenhouse design allows people to escape the tyranny of the industrial food system.

Photo Credit: Greenhouse of the Future

If you've ever thought about growing your own food, the Greenhouse of the Future might be the answer you're looking for.

This sustainable, passive-solar DIY greenhouse is built from upcycled materials like tires, wood and glass bottles, and operates using fully renewable energy. It includes an area to grow vegetables, an aquaponics area to farm fish and a place to relax amidst your personal nature retreat.

But it's not just about food self-sufficiency. By controlling exactly what you eat, you can avoid all the harmful stuff that often comes with "denatured" food, such as GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, preservatives and other chemical additives. You can save money and avoid food cost fluctuations, and if the SHTF, you can survive. And of course, there's the ability to enjoy the warmth of the sun all year-round and a healthy reconnection to nature.

The concepts and technologies behind this unique greenhouse design draw on more than 40 years of eco-building research by American architect Michael Reynolds, a proponent of "radically sustainable living" who is known for his innovative Earthship constructions based on recycled materials like used tires, aluminum cans and plastic bottles that he developed in the 1970s. Some of his famous Earthship clients include actors Dennis Weaver and Keith Carradine.

Francis Gendron, the first graduate of Reynolds' Earthship Academy in Taos, New Mexico, is the founder of the Greenhouse of the Future project. 

"The synergy between this sustainable technology and the natural phenomena giving us food, water and warmth could literally change the world," claims Gendron, who is based in Canada. "In Quebec, our biggest environmental impact is linked to food because it comes from so far away."

"The Greenhouse of the Future is unique because it interrelates the natural phenomena to create an abundance of local organic food as well as an an ideal shelter to relax and enjoy the sun, even in the middle of winter," according to the producers, who filmed each step of the construction from various models for the step-by-step construction guide. The guide includes a 70-minute DVD, a 190-page ebook and a 70-page appendice with plans.

The instructions explain the basic concepts involved in making the sustainable greenhouse, from organizing a "tire party" to creating Canadian wells, to installing bottom plates, lateral supports, insulation walls and rafters and roofing.

“We do believe that if we combine this greenhouse with other technologies like compost heating, aquaponics and other intensive growing techniques, we could grow a major part of our food in a sustainable way even in the coldest countries,” said filmmaker Curt Close, who worked with documentary film company Anaconda Productions and Gendron's nonprofit SolutionEra to produce the Greenhouse of the Future DVD kit.

Using a model developed from Earthship's expertise, Gendron has found a way to heat the greenhouse only during the three coldest months of the year, though it is adaptable for any climate. A passionate advocate of sustainability, His overall goal is to increase local food production and reduce human impact on the natural environment.

The producers say the Greenhouse of the Future is part of a "radically sustainable revolution." You might just call it your little slice of heaven.

Check out the official trailer to learn more:

AlterNet readers enjoy a 20% discount; just use code "tmun20" at the Greenhouse of the Future.

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Reynard Loki is a senior writing fellow and the editor and chief correspondent for Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He previously served as the environment, food and animal rights editor at AlterNet and as a reporter for Justmeans/3BL Media covering sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He was named one of FilterBuy’s Top 50 Health & Environmental Journalists to Follow in 2016. His work has been published by Salon, Truthout, BillMoyers.com, EcoWatch, Truthdig, National Memo, Green America, Regeneration International, Revelist, Resilience and BlackBook, among others. Reynard is also the co-founder of MomenTech, an experimental production studio based in New York and Prague that has presented dozens of projects around the world exploring intersections of culture, history, politics, science and sports. Follow him on Twitter: @reynardloki or email him at [email protected]ind.media.