Startup Seeks to Shape Future of Urban Agriculture with Fish, Automation and Well Designed Hardware
“Our target price point for the base model will be $50-75, with upgradeable components available to further automate the micro-aquaponic experience.”
By Missy Smith
January 17, 2013
Two young mechanical engineers, Brian Falther, 24, a 2010 graduate of Kettering University (Flint, Mich.) and Austin Lawrence, 21, a senior at Kettering University, have teamed up to bring small aquaponic grow systems into people’s homes, with each system being connected to an online farm community. Their concept is at once a virtual world with online interaction and connectivity and an authentic reality where real, clean, healthy food grows in a large collection of personal micro-aquaponic systems in homes throughout the world. They call their idea Future Tech Farm.
“The way we have been describing our home grow system is as a ‘node’ of the farm. The sum of all the nodes equals the farm. In essence, the Future Tech Farm is a singular decentralized and distributed farm—what we are calling a farming platform with a physical and virtual representation,” says Falther. He explains further that “users will open up their grow systems, fill them with water and fish, plant what they want, plug them in, watch them grow and engage with a community of technology-based farm systems.” Each system will have Internet connectivity, which will allow people to track all of their grow cycles, see what other people are growing and compare variables for improving yields.
Users of the system will be able to produce fresh vegetables year-round in the micro-aquaponic systems—which will be about the size of a microwave or laundry basket—without the use of pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.