Organic Fiction

In a bid to revolutionize urban farming and continue its waste management revolution, ReLeaf, an Austin-based cooperative known for transforming organic waste into vertical gardens, recently unveiled a remarkable new initiative.

Inspired by Andrea Perotti's presentation on repurposing surplus IT equipment, ReLeaf has taken up the challenge of refurbishing old computers and using them to power automatic irrigation systems for their vertical gardens.

Christened as "Green PCs", these old computers, upcycled with open-source software, play a crucial role in providing internet connectivity and machine learning capabilities to monitor and control watering schedules based on environmental factors such as temperature, soil moisture, and forecasted rainfall.

ReLeaf's initiative mirrors the work of Perotti's volunteer organization, PC Officina, which transforms end-of-life surplus computer equipment into functional machines for those who cannot afford new ones. By repurposing the discarded computers, ReLeaf brings them back to life, keeping with the organization's ethos of waste reduction.

Moreover, using these Green PCs is about more than just cost-saving; it's an environmentally conscious choice. ReLeaf's decision to refurbish instead of buying new reduces the demand for new devices and their associated manufacturing emissions. The initiative also decreases electronic waste, a rapidly growing environmental problem.

To ensure the refurbished computers are robust enough for their new roles, ReLeaf adopted PC Officina's standard for hardware: a minimum of a Core i3 processor or equivalent, eight gigs of RAM, and a 128GB SATA drive.

Moreover, the cooperative chose the Linux Mint 21 with Xfce edition for its modest hardware requirements and long support life-cycle. This operating system's point-and-click GUI and ease of installation of third-party drivers make it a user-friendly choice for ReLeaf's unique application.

ReLeaf's new initiative is yet another testament to its innovative and sustainable approach to urban farming and waste management. Through their work, they showcase how repurposed technology can contribute to environmental sustainability, reinforcing Austin's reputation as a hub of green innovation.

W.A.S.T.E.: Words Assisting Sustainable Transformation & Ecology