Parasite Farm

Charlotte Dieckmann & Nils Ferber (DE)
Installation, 2011

Most fruit and vegetables are now available all year round. Agriculture takes place far away from our everyday lives. Are we losing touch with how our fruit and vegetables are grown, harvested and transported? Urban living doesn’t leave much room for agricultural practices to people without access to a balcony or garden.

Parasite Farm is an indoor compost system and illuminated plant boxes. The parasitic objects are fed food scraps and in turn provide fresh vegetables in a complete nutrient cycle. Both the vermicompost system and the boxes use existing furniture as infrastructure to ensure easy integration in the home.

Food becomes waste on the cutting board, which doubles as the cover to the vermicompost-container. The container holds microorganisms, tiger worms and soil biota that decompose the food scraps and make the nutrients available for plants. To aerate the compost sufficiently there are ventilation slots on the container and, providing there is enough oxygen, an almost odourless aerobic rotting process is possible.

The water contained in fresh vegetable or fruit scraps runs through a drawer and is stored in a translucent tank. It can be added into your watering can via a small pump as liquid fertiliser for your plants.

The vermicompost takes three months to compost the waste. The nutrientrich humus soil collected provides the base for growing vegetables and herbs in the plant box. Fresh nutriments can be harvested and the plant remains recycled back into the vermicompost container, completing the nutrient cycle.

About the artist: 

Charlotte Dieckmann, born in Lueneburg in Germany in 1987 and Nils Ferber, born in Langenhagen in Germany in 1986, both studied design at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg. The project Parasite Farm was developed as part of the seminar ‘Agriculture and the City’ held by Harald Gründl. Charlotte completed her studies in 2014 with a diploma of arts and is living in Hamburg in Germany and working as a freelance designer. Nils lives in Switzerland and will finish his master studies soon.