Small aquaponics systems aren’t anything new. Many a savvy DIY’er has built their own aquarium aquaponics garden. This isn’t even the first such creation that has wound up on Kickstarter. Still, the Blue Green Box is a great idea, and it is different.
Last year, the mushroom kit guys over at Back To The Roots had a nifty little 3-gallon aquaponics setup on Kickstarter. Very easily managed with just one beta fish being able to produce enough nutrition for a few small herbs. Just as popular as Blue Green Box was last month, the AquaFarm was totally funded for big number production in about 2 weeks.
Blue Green Box allows you to outfit a 10-gallon aquarium. That’s more than three times the plant nutrients than the cute little counter top AquaFarm model. This opens the doors for people who already have this size freshwater aquarium populated to have access to a plug and play aquaponics setup. You can grow more serious plants with Andrew de Melo’s concept. He’s designed it to support 4 plants and is having great success at growing a tomato, a pepper and two herbs all at once in a very compact space.
Andrew didn’t set out to invent something. It all started when he stumbled on aquaponic food growing while looking for some fish food information in a forum. He had to try this, and his first DIY aquaponics setup was cobbled together. That’s the problem with the build it yourself approach. It looks cobbled together. Hardly something you want in the main living area of your home. As his fish and plants grew, better ideas of how to make his system came to mind. Soon he was so convinced that aquaponics was the way to grow food in the future, he was sharing his new found passion with friends and relatives. One thing led to another, and it wasn’t long before he was trying to discover the way to share this with the world.
Many prototypes later, the Blue Green Box is perfected. Testing his market out wisely, Andrew set up his Kickstarter project at a size that will allow him to produce all funding orders using only the machines they have at home and the help of his father. It helps that his dad has both CNC machines and a history in industrial design, but approaching the opportunity this way made it easier to reach the funding goal than if all of the machining had to be hired out.
Back To The Roots would have had a super easy time hitting their $100,000 goal. They’re a well known company with tons of already established customers and a boatload of school systems already using their mushroom kits. Andrew is starting from scratch with no pre-established tribe waiting in the wings to swoop in and help make his project happen fast, but will grow his customer base from his exposure on Kickstarter. Looks like he’s got a good start already with 900 friends on Facebook, many of which are probably waiting for open ordering to come online.
You might wonder why a white growing setup got named the Blue Green Box. Simple. Water is blue. Plants are green. Andrew’s design houses them in a box.
If you don't find her at the desk - check the gardens. When not writing and weeding, she enjoys a good book, painting junk furniture, and blending the harvest of heirloom tomatoes and chiles into salsas.