ArkFab

ArkFab Team

Project leader: Kishore Karnik (kgkarnik@gmail.com )

History

This project started as a collaborating between Engineers Without Borders, the ArkFab research group from Georgia Tech and the Truly Living Well (TLW) urban farm in Atlanta. ArkFab was created in 2009, it was intended to be an organization focused on incubating sustainable businesses and technologies that provide food, shelter, energy and water in a resource constrained environment. On the other hand, Truly Living Well has been serving the Atlanta community since 2006, by using natural, GMO-free food production as a catalyst to creating jobs, healthier adults and children and building a safe inner city oasis for families and community to gather. The ArkFab project of Engineers Without Borders works to design sustainable systems for TLW’s wheat street gardens to allow for more efficient farm operation and productivity.

Location

The community that is being served is Atlanta’s Westside neighborhoods. The new location of the Truly Living Well Farm in Collegetown will create an economic and social boost in Westside Atlanta by transforming food deserts into healthier communities. Food deserts are defined as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers. While food deserts are often short on whole food providers, they have more convenience stores that provide a wealth of processed, sugar, and fat laden foods that are known contributors to our nation’s obesity epidemic. Lower income populations are more affected by food deserts because the limited access to transportation forces them to shop at convenience stores where there are no fresh and healthy food alternatives.


What We Do

The ArkFab EWB team is helping with the design and implementation of sustainable solutions in urban farming to allow for more efficient farm operation and productivity.
The team has focused on the following projects:

• Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system for greenhouse heating
• Solar energy
• Rain water harvesting

Additionally, the EWB team is creating a fundraising campaign to collect Raspberry Pi’s. The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that enables people of all ages to explore computer science, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. Through this initiative we seek to enable a technology focused educational program to teach best practices in natural urban agriculture for Atlanta’s youth and thus promote careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

Project Status

The project is both in the design and the implementation phase. The Engineers Without Borders team has already completed preliminary designs and budget on both a Combined Heat and Power unit as well as a photovoltaic system. The PV or solar panel system, along with the combined heat and power unit (CHP) will be used to provide electricity for the farm, the CHP unit will also be used to provide the heat necessary to maintain the greenhouse where the aquaponics system will be used. Additionally, this October, the team started on the design of a rain-water catchment system to provide water for the farm to help them disconnect from the grid and become more self-sufficient.