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Is small-scale farming the missing key to food efficiency?

Fresh off of raising over $400,000 on Kickstarter and boasting a talented team, Grove is revolutionizing our concept of small scale farming.

Pat Flynn, Co-Founder, Hazel Technologies
December 22, 2015 5:06 pm CST

With a world population projected to  swell to over 10 billion people by 2050, the challenges of feeding an already exploding population are upon us.

Boston area-based Grove is taking this challenge one step further: how do we empower future generations to not only create food with constrained resources, but guarantee ample access to  healthy and all-natural food efficiently?

Enter the "Ecosystem", an Amber Bamboo aquaponic food growing system complete with a 25 gallon aquarium, 200 Watt plant growing lamp, and sensors that monitor temperature, humidity, and brightness levels.in the environment.

A bookshelf sized growing station for small scale crop production

A bookshelf sized growing station for small scale crop production, products like the Ecosystem by Grove could be how future generations maintain access to healthy, all-natural food.

Now a complex and full featured product that recently completed one of the most successful agricultural projects in Kickstarter history, the Ecosystem had a more humble beginning in an MIT dorm room.

Co-Founder and Inventor Jamie Byron created the first Ecosystem while still a student at MIT, and according to roommate and co-founder Gabe Blanchet, they grew, "All sorts of stuff, we even had a Kiwi tree".  

Soon after, now CEO Blanchet dropped out of MIT to join tech startup GRABCAD, but when it was acquired by Stratasys for an estimated $100 million in 2014, the prospect of taking the Ecosystem beyond an MIT dorm room became a reality.

The Grove Ecosystem is designed to grow leafy greens, herbs, and small fruits. Source

Fast forward approximately twenty months of product development and Grove has over twenty employees and the Ecosystem is the next hot small scale farming product. 

Traction has been  plentiful. Beyond the Kickstarter, Grove has raised millions in venture capital and count entrepreneur cult legend Tim Ferriss as an adviser, as well as highly respected MIT professor and author Bill Aulet.

The Ecosystem is optimized to grow leafy greens, herbs, and small fruits. Some inquisitive early adapters have even taken to growing non-produce crops like buckwheat.

Although the current Ecosystem is not designed for use in resource challenged areas like 3rd world countries, CEO Gabe Blanchet points out that the data generated using Grove software package (Grove OS) is providing insight on how crop producers can increase yield and production.

This new data and research will ideally be utilized not only for Grove product optimization, but also by farmers and researchers studying crop growing efficiency and best practices across the world in the future.

More information on food tech startup Grove and the 'Ecosystem'

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