By Donnetta Campbell
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For many of us in cities, the ability to have a substantial garden and grow real organic vegetables is a joy that we don’t have the opportunity to experience. Whether it is a lack of light or space, or the inability to find a product that looks good in your apartment, there always seems to be an obstacle to finding a true urban gardening solution. We set out to create the garden of the future that would thrive no matter how small or dark the space.
It all started when we learned more about the chemical fertilizers and pesticides used in conventional farming, and we wanted to take food production into our own hands. We realized that aquaponics—a system that uses the natural, symbiotic relationship between fish and plants to grow produce—could be the answer.
Shortly after trying aquaponics himself, one of our co-founders, Ben-Yam Barshi, was inspired to build several large aquaponic projects in regions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where lack of rainfall and harsh environmental conditions make it difficult for agricultural practices to flourish. Barshi’s childhood friend and Aqualibrium co-founder Josh Rittenberg saw what Ben-Yam was doing and wanted to have the same system in his own house—and realized others would want it, too.
After bringing on Jared Kasner, our third co-founder who has a business degree and is passionate about addressing climate change, we sought out to develop a cost-effective and functional approach to address the problems of modern food production. Our vision was inspired by the design visions of world renowned futurist Jacque Fresco and resulted in the creation of the Aqualibrium Garden™, a beautiful indoor system that can grow a substantial amount of fresh vegetables, herbs, and flowering plants.
The Aqualibrium Garden™ is a four-foot by two-foot closed-loop ecosystem that empowers people with the freedom to grow food sustainably year-round. While the garden is designed for use as an aquaponic system (utilizing the natural symbiotic relationship between fish and plants to grow produce) it has the capacity to function as a hydroponic system as well.
The garden is comprised of two main parts—the bottom half features a 13-gallon aquarium, while the top half serves as a garden offering two square feet of grow space. Made of durable, scratch-resistant, clear plastic, each garden is easy to assemble and requires little maintenance. It truly brings a bit of nature into the home.
We are trying to change the way people think about sustainability and green products. Our mission is to deliver a perpetual source of organic food for all people—one system at a time.
We are also thrilled to announce our recent partnership with Birds Nest Foundation to provide indoor academic to gardens to schools in 2014. Birds Nest is a 501(c)3 organization founded to provide media grants to other non-profit organizations. Through their “Ground Up Campaign” over 250 edible, academic gardens have been donated to public schools throughout the country. We look forward to our partnership with CEO Avis Richards and Founder Dylan Richards in the coming year. As Dylan Richards– Founder of The Ground Up Campaign “Education Starts From The Ground Up” © – put it when describing his healthy eating outreach, “It is my hope that, having planted the initial seed, these children will continue to work together to grow more vegetables, and nourish their own community.”