We are Skye Clarke, Schuyler Duffy and Desi-Rae Campbell, and together we are working to develop FarmBox, a highly efficient, versatile aquaponic farm housed in a shipping container.
Schuyler and Skye grew up together in New York City and have known each other for as long as they can remember. Actually, longer than that!
Skye moved to France in 2007 and obtained a masters degree in materials science, concentrating on batteries and solar panels. Driven by the desire to take part in our transition towards renewable energy, Skye is motivated by the belief that we must take action now to build a more sustainable future.
Schuyler moved just as far, but in the opposite direction. While attending the University of California, Los Angeles, Schuyler became very concerned with sustainability, considering the problem from a different angle: food production. For the last five years, he has been growing a wide range of crops for friends and family. Schuyler was taking action to build a more sustainable future for himself and those around him, but he felt the need to expand his impact beyond a personal level. .
Desi-Rae was born and raised in Jamaica, living there until coming to the United States for higher education in the biological sciences. Her ever-present ambition since she was old enough to ponder the state of the world was to have a positive impact on her surroundings. She is pleased to be a part of the Farmbox team and to be taking concrete steps towards achieving this goal.
Despite our varied experience, we have evolved towards the same point, all striving to answer the complex question: how can we participate in the transition towards a more sustainable tomorrow?
Over the past year we have developed an answer to that question, FarmBox. A single FarmBox unit is a highly efficient, automated aquaponics system housed in a shipping container; however, FarmBox is so much more than that– each unit is part of a decentralized food production network, providing a source of fresh, local produce regardless of location.
FarmBox aims to carry aquaponics into the mainstream. By creating an economically and environmentally sustainable food production system, Farmbox offers a year-round source of fresh, local produce and fish, in any location with access to electricity and water.
Aquaponics, the combination of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants in water), is a proven, highly efficient and symbiotic method of food production. Simply put, we feed the fish, which then provide the nutrient source for the vegetables, which in turn act as a natural filter for the fish tank. Aquaponics is a closed-loop system, using 90% less water than traditional agriculture techniques, and provides for robust vegetables and healthy fish without the use of fertilizer, pesticides or antibiotics.
FarmBox integrates diverse technologies into a mobile, modular farm unit that addresses both the environmental problems of large-scale agriculture and the economic barriers characteristic of small-scale production. The use of shipping containers capitalizes on underused industrial land, eliminating overhead costs and promoting land use efficiency in urban/suburban areas. Furthermore, shipping containers provide a controlled, healthy environment for our biosystems to ensure that each and every component thrives year-round, regardless of external conditions.
Our customers are sustainably focused food service businesses such as restaurants, caterers, cafeterias and grocers. There is a proven growing demand for fresh, local produce, and we want to help meet that demand.
This loan will allow us to build a fully functional small-scale system that will provide invaluable information and insight into how to optimize our design. The prototype will not only be used for research and development, but will serve as an essential marketing tool to grow our business.
The prototype is designed to produce a variety of vegetables, the sale of which will reimburse the loan and cover operational costs. But the true value of the prototype lies in that it is fundamental in taking FarmBox to the next step, one step closer to our end goal: the democratization of an economically viable, environmentally friendly, and socially responsible means of food production.
The loan will cover the following:
The Hardware: $4000
The Technology: $3000
The Living Components: $3000