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March 20, 2012 / Brooklyn news / Crown Heights / The Greatest Story Ever

Couch potato? Artist puts gardens under furniture

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No longer should you feel ashamed about eating things you find under your couch.

Jenna Spevack, an artist and professor at City Tech, is turning household furniture into vibrant mini-farms to prove that anyone can grow tat soi or kale — even in the tiniest of apartments.

“You can have salad all year long,” said Spevack, a Crown Heights resident. “It’s quite a lot of fun to grow your own food. It’s sort of like no-work farming.”

For the past year, she’s embedded tables and chairs with steel planters and fluorescent lights in an art project that doubles as urban agriculture.

It all started when Spevack wanted fresh local arugula but couldn’t find the time for a community garden. So she cleared space on the bookshelf and created a hide-a-farm underneath her Danish modern sofa.

Her sub-irrigated systems grow microgreens such as mustard and mizuna within weeks using a wick that allows plants to pull in water as they need it.

Spevack’s friends are loving the leftovers — especially because the baby greens are local, all-natural, and dirt cheap.

“It’s a tall order, but Jenna’s greens do it all!” said pal Lisa Lerner. “The greens stayed quite tasty and fresh for days.”

Spevack keeps a studio at the Metropolitan Exchange Building on Flatbush Avenue, which functions as a testing room for the borough’s great thinkers — it’s the place where one scientist dreamt up a house made of lab-grown animal flesh.

She hopes to make sustainability attainable, sparking a community farming movement that lets Brooklyn locavores forage without leaving their living rooms.

“This is exploring ways to grow food closer to home instead of having it trucked in from other parts of the country,” said Spevack, whose works will soon appear in a gallery in Manhattan. “Now as a New Yorker with hardly any space, you can have a bigger connection to your food.”

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