I’ve mentioned the Radical Urban Sustainability Training before. It was offered in Albany by the Rhizome Collective,an amazing group of people concerned with the impending deconstruction of food and water access, particularly for those in urban settings. This is one of a series of posts outlining some of my favorite ideas and how you can implement them in your own community.
Today’s is called a Floating Island.
The collective was given a piece of property that happened to be a runoff pond from city streets. The problem, of course was the water was completely unusable. Nothing was growing and most life couldn’t survive the harsh environment, so they came up with an idea to help clean the runoff and thereby make the pond more hospitable for growth. If you’ve come across a runoff pond or other polluted body of water, you may consider building one yourself.

All found and recycled materials were used
~ steel or aluminum pipe
~found 2L and 16oz bottles
~mesh or plastic netting
~rope or zip ties.
~plants that absorb toxins and grow in aquatic environment: (Think rice, duckweed, water celery,water hyacinth, azolla)

The Rhizome folks ran into a problem. When it didn’t rain, the water evaporated and their plants died, so they did a little engineering and came up with a cement bottom that looked like a bowl.The concept was that the bowl would hold the water until it rained again, keeping the plants and good bacteria alive.

*Start by rolling your recycleables into a ring.
*Tie your netting together so there is an outer ring and a liner on the bottom (think blow up pool.)
*The netting goes along the bottom, where the plants will take root.
*If you need to do the cement bowl, try a kiddie pool with wax paper lining as your mold.
*The whole apparatus goes around the pole, which should be planted firmly in the floor of the pond.
*Make sure it’s left loose enough for the whole apparatus to move up and down on the pole with the rise of water level.

Any questions?