Dozens of big companies such as Kinkos, Dropbox and Google were started by university students. A new startup from MIT hopes to be the next one – with its fish powered, Wi-Fi-enabled, indoor garden.

Gabe Blanchet is the CEO and co-founder of Grove Labs. During his senior year at MIT, Blanchet’s roommate Jamie Byron made a do-it-yourself aquaponic ecosystem in their shared room.

BLANCHET: “That system really freshened the air, really brought a sense of nature and life into our somewhat sterile room. And with that we developed a notion that in the future everybody would have an ecosystem in their home where they can grow their own food for themselves and their families.”

The Grove ecosystem looks like a big, three-level book shelf. The bottom shelf holds an aquarium, home to fish whose ammonia-rich waste fertilizes the plants that grow in the shelves above. In turn, the plants’ roots filter and clean the water. Blanchet says the system allows owners to grow vegetables while keeping their fish tank clean. And it comes with a smartphone app that helps manage the system.

”A Click To Tweet

The company recently raised more than $400,000 on Kickstarter, and Blanchet expects these in-home gardens to be available later this year.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media/Justin Bull.
Image source: Grove Labs website.

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Bud Ward

Bud Ward is Editor of Yale Climate Connections. He started his environmental journalism career in 1974. He later served as Assistant Director of the U.S. Congress's National Commission on Air Quality,...