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"Teo, Heather, and Fernando are traveling to Ecuador to finish a design on a chocolate factory for Kallari, thanks to a grant from Architecture for Humanity and the support of RATIO and RAYae."

Holy Sprouts, Batman! 'OR' Greening it up at the IBPF

On the outskirts of Urbana, Illinois sprouts are growing happily each day in a lovely ‘factory’ built into the side of hill. It’s hard to call it a factory…maybe more like an indoor farm…for baby plants…indoor baby plant farm (IBPF), yes that will do. Driving out west with a group of people from my church to Tiny Greens Organic Farm, I didn’t really know what to expect. I was going for a couple of reasons – the bigger one perhaps being that there is a yoga ashram located on the same property as the sprout factory – but little did I know that the factory would actually make the trip for me!

We were greeted as we arrived by the CEO/General Manager Bill Bagby, who was very excited to show us around his IBPF. The building uses a combination of passive solar design elements, radiant heating and cooling, super-insulation, and thermal storage. Bill worked closely with his mechanical engineers, and I feel like by the end of the process, he could design another one of these buildings without their help! The sprouts must be kept at temperatures between 68-71 degrees, and amazingly Bill pointed out that he requires no additional heating or cooling in the Spring and Fall due to the fantastic design work done on the building. The IBPF also recycles all of its water, a fairly amazing feat considering the amount of water that is needed to process the seeds into sprouts. At the farm’s previous home, Bill said that they were paying around $2000 a month in water bills! Now compare that to your next bill and think about how much water they go through. In trying to reduce their carbon footprint on the earth even more, the IBPF converted their main delivery vehicle to run on French Fry Fuel!

What a wonderful learning opportunity for so many…simple ‘green’ design elements that can be incorporated into so many projects not just here in our well-developed country, but in those where it could impact the lives of so many others. The water system alone could do wonders for so many communities.

Bill loves talking about his IBPF, and I know would love to have you come out! To learn a little more about the farm and set up a time to visit it, check out the website at . If you want to try some of his sprouts, look for the Tiny Greens label at your grocery store!

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