With Back to the Roots, a company that supplies Whole Foods with gourmet mushrooms grown in spent coffee grinds, Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez figured out how to turn other people's garbage into money. For the entrepreneurial duo's next effort they've got a more product-design based offering, but one that still neatly fits their passion for growing your own food.
The Aquaponics Garden is a small-scale, low-hassle food growing system—or a fishtank that cleans itself, depending on how you look at it. The fish poop that fouls ordinary tanks is pumped up to the plants above, which are growing in nothing more than little pails full of pebbles; the fish excretion provides the nutrients. As a result, the user gets fresh spinach, baby greens, oregano, beans, basil, mint, parsley, thyme et cetera, no green thumb necessary.
Buy-in for a complete set-up starts at a measly $50 on Kickstarter, where Arora and Velez are trying to raise 100 large for tooling. The duo sound like they could use a little ID help—although they'd raised $75,000 at press time with three weeks left to go, they're still deciding whether to go with injection molding or sonic welding. (If you've got an opinion on which route is better, their comments section is open for business.)
Have a look:You may also want to check out a TED talk the two gave, where they tell the fascinating story behind their successful mushroom venture, and how that came to be: