Vertical farm hits the market

Vertical farm hits the market


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TWENTY-eight-year-old Caleb Ha has developed the world's first self-irrigated, vertical garden that can grow 30 herbs, fruit and vegies, and use 95 per cent less water.

SINCE finishing his studies at RMIT University in 2013, Caleb Ha has been a driving force behind multiple start-up businesses.

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The 28 year-old entrepreneur founded multiple businesses that raised funds for an orphanage in Cambodia, a business that distributed free water that was funded by companies that advertise on the bottles, and now, he’s got himself into hydroponics, and founded Applant.

Mr Ha is about to launch his first product, aTree, the world’s first self-irrigated, vertical garden.

“aTree can grow up to 30 fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables, using 95 per cent less water, and can be done in your balcony or kitchen,” Mr Ha said.

“It’s a vertical garden that uses aeroponic technologies to feed plants planted into a vertical trunk, allowing nutrient rich water to rain down, feeding plant roots.

“Given aeroponics grow plants out of water, not soil, it means there will be no soil-borne pests, and no weed sprays needed.”

After years of working on other projects, and even running clubs in Melbourne, Mr Ha said he decided to start Applant to put his skill set towards something more meaningful.

“I was searching for where I could serve, and started to ask some pretty profound questions about some of the world’s biggest problems, and from there I realised how big of a problem food really was, so I asked myself three questions,” he said.

“One, how are we going to be able to feed the growing population?

“Two, how will we be able to feed everybody without ruining the planet?

“And three, how can we tackle obesity and disease?”

He said he believes vertical farming could help tackle these problems, because it’s a feasible way to grow more with less resources.

“We’ve worked out that it’s more cost efficient to grow at your own house than to buy from a supermarket,” he said.

“Phase one is to focus on people that live in cities, people that are busy and have always wanted to grow but didn’t have the time and space, we want to make growing in cities possible.

“And while we don’t think we can replicate what it is that farmers do, we think we can offer a new way of thinking.”

He said this technology can decrease farmers’ reliance on the weather.

“Farmers are at the mercy of the weather, if one season there’s a flood or a drought, it could ruin their livelihood,” he said.

“I just feel that better safeguards are needed so Australian farmers aren’t at the peril of the weather and climate change.”

Mr Ha said he and the team are excited for the launch of aTree on July 11, through a Kickstarter event at the SproutX office in Melbourne.

“On the night, people can pledge on Kickstarter to buy aTree, as we raise funds to begin manufacturing,” he said.

“This way we’re able to crowdsource the community’s interest before we go and create all of these products, eliminating potential waste.”

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