On Tuesday, our class had the opportunity to speak with Duron Chavis, a Richmond urban gardener and the founder of Happily Natural Day. We had the chance to not only learn about what he does and how got there but also to ask him specific questions pertaining to our own hydroponics design. The exchange of information between our class and Mr. Chavis embodied, in a small way, the vision of Open Source Design: the communication between different designers and entrepreneurs about their similar projects for the sake of mutual betterment. To be fair, I don’t know how much he learned from our side, but we certainly gained more insight from him about how to improve or adjust our own hydroponic systems.
I particularly loved his thoughts on how to maximize the value of hydroponics systems. My team asked “Which do you believe would bring more value (at least for the project we’re working on- helping refugee camps): a system that is highly advanced and efficient in one specific area and that requires a higher level of maintenance, or an incredibly simple design that could be widely accessible and translatable across different refugee camps, plants, and environments, but isn’t as specialized or effective?” He said that he believed the best type of system would be one of simplicity and minimalization, something that doesn’t require a high level of maintenance. It’s better to have a simple design that is easy to understand and translate across different cultures, climates, and plants.