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Drayton Organics

Drayton Organics……………..an urban Farm

Founder: James Shannon
Co Founder: William Zach Chambers
 

Drayton Organics is an experimental urban growth farm.  The farm is certified Organic in the State of GA and is all located on a 4′ by 12′ foot balcony over looking Drayton St. in the Historic downtown of Savannah, GA.  Over the past couple of year we have been experimenting with growing produce on the farm.  Greens in the winter and primarily hot peppers during the remainder of the year.  In 2011 we focused on a 3 level plant hanging system that allowed us to increase our crop almost 3 fold.  In the beginning of the summer of 2011 we had so many seedlings that we were able to sell them in Savannah’s local farmers market and make a small profit.  The remainder of the year has been interesting but extremely full of growth.  Our plants shot up and nearly covered our entire balcony area.  This high rise in growth allowed for natural shading against passive solar heat gain on the porch as well as the living room in which the balcony is connected to. As far as profiting from the crops financially we did not have as much success.  It is possible to sell our current produce and possibly earn a couple hundred dollars but we opted to make hot sauces to enjoy the peppers over the winter months.  After a season of growing it wasn’t worth it to settle for only a few hundred dollars.  The success was in seeing how at a greater scale this method of farming can be very profitable and seeing how much profit could have been made with our small crop.  The other success was proving that one can reduce passive solar heat gain on building by installing hanging green walls “walls of plants” on the western and eastern sides of building in Savannah, GA.  The southern sides of buildings in Savannah gain too much heat for most fruit producing or eatable plants to survive with out a painful amount of water.  It is possible that other plant species would do well on southern facades but we have not tested these theories.

Sustainabilty

Part of creating this Urban farm was to put emphasis on urban sustainability.  Instead of produce being sold from farms located hundreds of miles away or even thousands when you consider what is in local grocery stores; urban farming cuts the carbon footprint drastically by cutting down transportation needs.  Our farm is located less then a block from the local farmers market and when we were selling in the market we had a cart assembled out of scrap wood which we used to transport our items to the market.  Other venders in the market would travel up to 150 miles from the middle of Georgia to reach the market. We traveled only a couple hundred feet with no use of automobiles or any carbon emitting sources.

If you take this idea and put it on a larger scale the crops can be profitable and start to serve as insulation for buildings by blocking passive solar heat gain.  This in turn will reduce the energy consumption of the buildings which reduces the carbon footprint of the buildings.  Reducing energy consumption is one major goal in creating sustainable structures and using plant life as part of this process is a great method to achieve this.  Instead of costly and material heavy renovations, plant walls can be installed to lower energy consumption.

 

Early in the season

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late Season

The photos below were taken in October of 2011.  The plants are thriving!