Alumna Matrakova helps launch “Garden Stack”, a green start-up offering vertical gardening solutions - Website: https://www.garden-stack.com/
Humanity is accelerating towards 3D high-rise living while continuing to rely on a 2D landscape of conventional agriculture. Moreover, current vertical farming solutions have often proven wasteful. To address these challenges, we need innovative, space-efficient solutions for growing food at home. Enter Garden Stack: a soil-based, modular vertical gardening system designed for home use that combines the ancient olla irrigation technique with modern technology. Garden Stack offers a healthy habit you'll actually want to keep. Simply fill it with water from the top, and you'll have fresh plants indoors year-round. This eliminates the risk of over- and under-watering.
Garden Stack achieves this by applying traditional olla irrigation to a modern vertical farm. Ollas have irrigated our crops for thousands of years, from China to Rome. They remain the most efficient mode of soil irrigation to this day.
Despite the advantages, ollas are typically overlooked, as maintaining a field full of ollas can get pretty labor-intensive. But when applied to a vertical farm, the efficiency gains become clearer than ever. Irrigation becomes fully automatic, without the need for constant connectivity, and the application of modern materials makes it possible to avoid the problems associated with traditional ollas. Garden Stack's modular design makes for easy shipping and storage, as well as easy assembly. We'll be manufacturing 100% from Europe, with 100% European machinery, 100% European materials, and even 100% European software to design iterations of the device and its accessories. By relying on 3D printers for manufacture, we'll be able to oversee production and stick to our sustainability criteria, which revolve around (1) durability, (2) recyclability, and (3) biodegradability.
Existing vertical farming solutions don't use olla irrigation techniques. They are typically "hydroponic", implying a steep learning curve for home use, along with high and constant energy inputs. Plentiful funding was available for commercial hydroponics vertical farms in the era of low-interest rates and cheap energy. But the result has not been impressive, as these installations confront the reality of their energy-hungry methods. Because hydroponics eschews soil, the plant's roots are exposed and so must be kept in precision-controlled enclosures. By returning to a soil-based approach, not only are nutrition and flavor improved, but the plants' roots are protected as nature intended, providing ample wiggle room for temperature and nutrition fluctuations. In short, a soil-based approach is much better suited for a home environment. Launch day is planned Tuesday 25th April 5pm Brussels Time, within limited "Eaerly bird" discounts available. You can receive a launch day reminder by signing up on their website, or through Kickstarter.