Organic indoor gardening just got easier, more stylish, and insanely more high tech. The Grove Ecosystem promises to change the way Americans think about growing their own food with a sleek-looking bookshelf-sized unit that connects to your mobile device. An idea born and initially developed at MIT, it is the world’s first intelligent, in-home garden that uses aquaponics to grow as much as a salad per day using natural fertilizers made by fish. After months of extensive prototype testing with a group of 50 Early Adopters in Boston, the Grove Ecosystem, is now available on Kickstarter.
The Grove ecosystem uses a process called aquaponics, meaning that an aquarium of fish, plants and beneficial microbes work in symbiosis to reliably provide the nutrients needed to grow herbs, small fruits and vegetables, including lettuce, peppers and tomatoes. Along with Grove’s own efficient LED lighting and leak-proof plumbing, the ecosystem is paired with Grove OS, a web and mobile app that guides you through the process of monitoring and controlling your system from your phone, among other things. Depending on the goals of the grower, one Ecosystem can produce as much as a salad per day.
Gabe Blanchet and Jamie Byron were inspired to start Grove while they were roommates at MIT. “It was our senior year at MIT, and we were beginning to understand global food production and how it’s both unsustainable for our planet and unhealthy for ourselves and our families,” says Blanchet. “When I saw how much Jamie’s hacked-together DIY aquaponics prototype in our shared dorm room at MIT improved our lives – by offering healthier food ready to harvest at our fingertips, significantly improving air quality, and becoming a living centerpiece of our dorm that dozens of people would congregate around each day – we realized this was something everyone should have in their homes and lives.”
You don’t have to have an green thumb to use the Grove Ecosystem. Blanchet says that is was designed for “anyone who wants access to fresh, healthy food, all year round. Anyone who wants to live more sustainably and in touch with nature and our planet. One’s level of gardening or technology expertise doesn’t matter – the Ecosystem is simple and intelligent enough to educate and grow with you.”