Britta Riley is the founder of the worldwide windowfarm movement. She initiated the windowfarm as an open source project, which resulted in a vivid online community. Over 40.000 enthousiasts subscribed, together inventing the windowfarm by the marvelous Research & Develop it Yourself (RD&Y) system. Through the forum, three official versions of the windowfarm were released.
For a while, we know that construction kits were made from Nestlé waterbottles. After that, Riley and her organisation made a prefab version and launched a Kickstarter campaign to go professional. A nice webshop appeared, where you could buy a windowfarm or just read how they were building this together with an organisation of injured veterans. Windowfarms.org seemed a very engaged social enterprise that already made a positive impact on the planet.
• Since a few months, the webshop of the New York organisation no longer exists. That was the first real sign for us something was definitely wrong.
• Earlier, we came across a few stories of people not receiving the windowfarm they paid for. These stories came form outside the US. Shipping seemed to be a problem.
• From the first days we got ourselves into windowfarming, we repeatedly tried to contact the organisation in New York, only to receive one fast reply from Britta Riley. She stated there were too many emails to reply to and that she was going to reply to us as soon as she got to it. This day never came. Also not after the many attempts we did later on and also not after the registered letter we sent this spring, when we became a formal organisation.
• This month, the international open source forum – including all its valuable data and experience provided by the 40.000 engaged people – also disappeared from the net.
• As we started looking for clues, we came across a smear campaign against Britta Riley on http://www.windowfarmsfraud.com/ claiming the organisation left Canadian backers to the Kickstarter campaign to forget about their money.
• On Huffington Post we found an article saying lots of contributors to the Kickstarter campaign never received their promised windowfarms, suggesting Riley took off with the money to build a career for herself. At the same time quoting Riley that the undelivered windowfarms ” keep her up at night” and that she “is still working to fulfill her company’s commitment”. (http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/…/windowfarms-kickstarter_n_36…)
However the case, we suspect there is a lot more to the story. We regret the international forum has been taken down, because we think the world was more beautiful with this forum.
And of course we would like to hear what really happened. So Britta, whether you are partying as if there’s no tomorrow, or you’re hiding in some place assembling windowfarms until your blisters won’t let you… Call us, baby.
We still love you.