FoodMachine beginnings…

Location: Kona, HI | Published: 02 December 2010

We were going back through pictures from the beginning stages of the Kona FoodMachine and thought these would be fun to share. They chronicle the beginning of the project, from when the site was still totally overgrown all the way through the construction phase.

The pictures below show the site as we first saw it, completely overgrown and with enormous hunks of lava rock all over the site. Just getting the site cleared enough to be able to build something was quite a task!

Once the site was cleared we were able to move around to begin construction of the grow-beds. Each grow-bed is four feet wide as this size accommodates the four by eight foot sheets of rigid insulation we will be using as rafts for floating the plants in the water.

The site has a slight downhill grade that had to be compensated for in the way in which we constructed the grow-beds. On the uphill side the grow-beds are barely built off the ground. However, at the drain end they are almost four feet off the ground. We had to do this in order to ensure that the beds are level so the water is able to flow like it should. Water will always find the path of least resistance, but we don’t want to create places in the grow-beds where the water will pool when it shouldn’t.

Since this is our main training and demonstration unit, we used materials here that we realize may not be accessible at other installations. Pier block and four by fours were used as the supports for the grow-beds. Plywood was then laid upon this foundation. This forms the bottom of the grow-beds through which the water will flow. These beds were then lined with food grade plastic sheeting.

After the sides were put on the grow-beds, the liners were installed. We used 2 x 10 boards and attached them to the sides of the beds.

We also put together the 4 tanks we will be using as our fish tanks. You can see we changed the system configuration in October of this year, but this was the original setup. There is nothing quite as fun on a really hot, Hawaiian day as putting together metal tanks!