So now you know what we're up to...
But why are we doing this and what is it we are actually asking money for?
Nemo's Garden Project can be divided in 2 "chapters". Both are intertwined and both run parallel to each other, feeding ideas back and forth.
THE BIG BROTHER THAT STARTED IT ALL
The actual underwater research and experimentation that will lead to the development of an economically convenient, installation for cultivating under the surface of the ocean. We succeeded already in growing plants, for several years now, so the road is kind of downhill from now on... BUT, what we need to do now are a lot of things:
- Gather more data (nobody has done anything like what we are doing before and many aspects need to be taken in account and considered: how much faster can we grow plants underwater rather than on the surface and why? How deep can we go? What are the pros and cons of different locations, types of installation, crop etc etc? So basically consolidating the scientific part of the project - also for further development in the future.
- Finalize what designs of biospheres are really useful (do we want to go large? Do we prefer something unmanned, 800 liters or 3000 liters.. how about 50, or just a mix? Which of the designs we created are interesting for a location rather than another?
This year we introduced a new system to hold the plants shelves in the 800 liter spheres.
Also, thinking about a way to hold costs down and avoiding work of scuba divers (maybe hazardous conditions, high cost of labor etc.. we developed also these unmanned spheres - these are easily set from a boat and don't require underwater work.
Along with testing different designs, we are testing also different materials, to convey water, maximize transparency (light for the crops), resistance to tear and inflating..
- How much fresh water can we create, apart from the crops growing? Can we use that fresh water by collecting it and bringing it to the surface?
- Are these installations interesting for resorts, for eco tourism, to give people a unique experience - apart from the growing food aspect?
- Some properties of plants grown last year were better than regular plants... could this mean there are more benefits from this kind of colture than we were thinking? Analysis performed by an acknowledged Italian authority http://www.cersaa.it working on agricolture and plant biology, demonstrated that the whole content of essential oils of the analyzed plants grown undwerwater is not far from that of terrestrial plants, again, taste and appearance of the specimens showed no differences. But then what are these different numbers? Could this mean better properties? How fascinating could it be if we discovered that, let's say... spinach, has a higher content in iron, when grown underwater?!
- Could we use the installations also for other purposes while cultivating our plants - i.e. fish farming, fish shelters (we noticed many animals spontaneously started to inhabit the site of the experiment), growth of particular seaweeds or coral that can repopulate the location; monitoring wildlife, scientific research and so on. Both for tourism and conservation purposes.
- Could we create a potentially totally independent system by using seaweed as a fertilizer for our crops? How about using only renewable energy for the crop's needs - a totally eco friendly underwater greenhouse..?...these are just some of the questions we want to answer and investigate!
Very simply: this is part of what you are backing up!
OUR PRODUCT, TAILORED FOR YOUR HOME
The second part of the project and also made possible by your backing us - opening an opportunity for a new market: a never before seen gadget for your home!
We're talking about a scaled down version of our installations that you will be able to put in your own aquarium to grow your own underwater garden!
You will decide what to plant, you will follow the experiment and try it for yourself! All the information you will find out while growing your mini Nemo’s Garden --> growth rate, environment where you decided to place your aquarium, type of plant, salt water or fresh aquarium etc.. will all contribute to our studies and to grow the community of underwater plant growing enthusiasts!
The product as of now is a prototype, which is 100% functional - our seeds have sprouted easily, just like the scaled up brother in Noli bay, and grown vigorously - it's just not as nice yet as we want it to be to market it!
...But we already have a solution for the looks!
We are finalizing the design of the aquarium Nemo's Garden - the mini Nemo's Garden - right now.
By finalizing the design we will decide the number of actual parts and commission the moulds; decide what kind of material use and the different options to insert into the packaging (and also present the packaging).
Our team has already decided to work for a unit that can accomodate most aquariums (in terms of space taking) - the sphere itself won't be larger than 14cm in diameter ; to include options for salt and fresh water aquariums in the product; to include weight or partial weight to keep the air volume submerged and to include possibly both options of anchoring (rigid legs, strings to change the shallowness of the biosphere).
The product will definitely include the biosphere, the container for the seed, substratum, anchoring system (s) and how to operate it as well as videos about the concept of Nemo's Garden.
All design modifications, and news will be promptly notified with regular updates to our backers and their interaction will be precious for the development of the product.
Since we know that aquariums are very delicate ecosystems, we have opted for solutions that keep this in mind, thus avoiding pollution of the aquarium by any material or element of the product.
We want to ship out mini Nemo's Gardens to backers, that are beautiful, well built, easy to use.
We want to offer the world an alternative to standard greenhouses, possibly something that can have a positive impact on agricolture, a new branch for green and blue economy.
In short we want to help change the world and we would love to have your help in the process. Both with backing and researching on your own mini Nemo's.
..."so you have these gigantic expectations and you only ask for 30k????"
Yes. indeed we do ask for "only" $30,000.
Of course we hope to greatly exceed that - the more we can raise from this campaign the better the product will be and the more possibilities we will have to invest more in researching and creating better Nemo’s Garden installations to truly help desolate regions of the world, where food and water and scarce resources.
Our group has made and makes this adventure possible, but we are spread thin on many different projects and businesses - Nemo's Garden is in a position where every penny our group spends, does not have a return yet.
As a medium small company, waiting to commercialize a patented idea is a huge sacrifice: it requires taking risks and assuming costs with no income returns. But we thought this was worth it.
Keep in mind, our aims are 3 (at least), when talking about research:
1) Sustainability as an alternative solution to agricolture on land and existing methods. Energy, resource saving and cost efficiency. Integration with aquaponics, fish farms etc.
2) Fresh water creation and possible reutilization (i.e. drought plagued US states, countries, villages, for crop use etc).
3) Higher pressure growth study: understanding the possibilities of having an accelerated growth rate due to higher pressure atmospheres underwater (these studies are very scarce due to the only option of hyperbaric chambers on land) - our system is a lot less expensive.
So what we though was: let's not ask for tons of money, we have been able to get to this point on a small budget, which means good prospects for the future in terms of sustainibility and we will continue to invest in first person as a company - the rest will be up to our backers and if they feel inspired by the project.
The true jump will be thanks to you.
Let's have people follow us because they LOVE the idea behind this project. Let's stimulate them with the coolest product ever and let them also know that whatever they spend on the product, not only makes that product creation possible, but also contributes to a research that potentially, one day, could change the world!
Hopefully, this will mean gathering more than 30k and truly be able to make a difference in a positive way.
Our project has already made the news locally, nationally and recently it has been covered all over the world, from The Washington Post, to Scientific American, India Times, Taipei Times, China, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Spain etc.. the list of countries we touched is growing as we write. It has also gathered around us multiple Universities and Scientific departments and partners. It has stimulated the fantasy of journalists who have written about us and what we are doing.
It has captured the attention of thousands out there to the point where we have been selected to represent the region where one of the companies is situated in Italy, at the World Exhibition - EXPO MILAN 2015 http://www.expo2015.org/it- a venue that has been organized spending billions, that will last six months, where all countries in the world are represented and participating to the motive: Feeding the planet, energy for life.
....sounds kind of fitting doesn't it?
You can read about us (we are LEGIT!), a few examples :
and many more!!!
Thank you everyone for wanting to be a part of this!
Risks and challenges
This adventure of course has it's risks.
in terms of the mini Nemo's Garden we are susceptible to any risk and challenge that any manufacturing company has: non stabilization of our own suppliers (mold builders, raw material suppliers and so on) and their possible delays; cost increase due to changes in design and materials to make the product more appealing; manuals translations; packaging design and creation; stock; inventory; logistics & organization and so on.
We have 60 years of experience in dealing with this kind of challenges, as a company that has worked for it's own brands both on the large scale market and manufacturers & OEM markets, so we are used to these kind of minor/major setbacks and how to deal with them.
It's not easy, but it's what entrepreneurship is all about. Facing challenges and giving support to your customers and suppliers is the basics of our generation-long experience. Flexibility is definitely our stronghold.
Regarding the whole experiment site and all that has to do with the large scale Nemo's Garden our number one risk and challenge is the sea's condition and the overall weather conditions.
An experimenting site is of course a lot more delicate than what we imagine for a production site for the future - a lot of the technology that we have in the biospheres (especially number 3) is not necessary on a production site - and last year we experienced at least 3 crop losses due to problems in our anchoring system (every time we learned something more and have dealt with each setback by implementing immediate solutions).
Even though we lost 3 times in 3 months our crops, we were capable to have a huge amount of lettuce, basil and other veggies in September thanks to our quick problem-solving attitude and immediate re-planting.
Our last crop was more than enough for the data we wanted and gave the season of experimenting a sweet taste of victory against adversities.
We are in the midst of a learning curve that seems to never straighten out - it is steep - as nobody every has researched or attempted anything like this before. There is no book to read from, no innovator to follow. But that's exactly what makes it an incredible ride.
From every challenge, every problem, we learned a lot.
This incredible amount of info, that comes from direct experience and "emergency" dealing with, has truly built our confidence and our know how in this never-before-explored world.
This experience is something that creates a huge gap between us and anyone wanting to attempt something like our Nemo's Garden.
As we confront ourselves with this adventure we are nothing but excited and stimulated by the "road bumps", the difficulties and hard times ahead of us - because of our entrepreneurship mentality we are used to this way of working and feel that the challenges that await us are something that we will manage, that will raise the bar for us and that we will be able to overcome just like we overcame all that life has thrown to us up until now.
I like to think that, If it were simple to achieve, somebody else would have already done it.
Other than our own mental capability to absorb hits and counter punch, we also can rely on a strong group and team work - a team of colleagues, co workers and partners that are used to being under pressure all the time.
We believe in each other and will work the clock until we reach our objective.
- (30 days)