Project image
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$6,464
pledged of $15,000pledged of $15,000 goal
67
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, July 30 2014 12:40 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated July 30, 2014

Salad Box - Vertical Aquaponics

Aquaponic lettuce and micro greens grown vertically within recycled shipping containers that use solar energy and rain water capture.

Salad Box - Vertical Aquaponics

Aquaponic lettuce and micro greens grown vertically within recycled shipping containers that use solar energy and rain water capture.

$6,464
pledged of $15,000pledged of $15,000 goal
67
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, July 30 2014 12:40 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated July 30, 2014

About

Salad Box  -  Urban Farm Aquaponics - part of the solution to pollution

Our Project transforms used shipping containers into sustainable green houses for urban farming. We call these green houses the "Salad Box". The Salad Box can grow organic vegetables, micro greens and fish, using solar panels, rain water collection and our new vertical growing system! 

This is a rendering of the "Salad Box" which is an aquaponic growing system for Urban Farmers. We repurpose shipping container into greenhouse for growing organic vegetables and fish.
This is a rendering of the "Salad Box" which is an aquaponic growing system for Urban Farmers. We repurpose shipping container into greenhouse for growing organic vegetables and fish.

Our Goal is to make a self sustaining food producing system with the electricity needed coming from solar panels. Imagine using solar and wind energy, rain water and organic nutrients to produce gourmet quality organic food and fish for local communities.  

The Salad Box shipping container can be transported by truck, train, or ship. It can be placed in parking lots, drive ways or open fields. The shipping containers are made of steel, which makes them durable, long lasting and relatively inexpensive. 

We have completed half of our urban farm plan. The picture shows our Salad Box shipping container and the attached green house in the back. Local Urban Farms are good for the community as they produce fresh healthy food and green jobs.
We have completed half of our urban farm plan. The picture shows our Salad Box shipping container and the attached green house in the back. Local Urban Farms are good for the community as they produce fresh healthy food and green jobs.

The Salad Box

We have been working on the Salad Box concept for five years.  It all began in a funky green house we made from left over construction material. Our fist challenge was to build an easy-to-use multipurpose vertical growing system, which we have completed and are now ready to install in a shipping container!

From our location we can manufacture other Salad Boxes and then transport them to places where urban farming is needed.  Once the Salad Box arrives you simply plug it in and attach it to a water hose and within a few weeks you are ready to harvest every week and keep harvesting, and harvesting and harvesting! 

We prepared the ground, planted a shipping container in our back yard, coated it with insulating reflective paint and now it's ready for the next phase -retrofit into a green house we call the Salad Box.
We prepared the ground, planted a shipping container in our back yard, coated it with insulating reflective paint and now it's ready for the next phase -retrofit into a green house we call the Salad Box.

 Phase One Completed 

  • We invented a fantastic vertical growing system:  it's lower in cost, more efficient and multifunctional. 
  • We grew an ever-so-tasty micro green salad mix, which was taste tested at Whole Foods and 90% of Moms, Dads and kids, are crazy about the freshness, understand the nutritional benefit and love the convenience. We combine nine vegetables in one box! So fellow Leaf-Lovers sink your teeth into this: the mix consists of lettuce, and micro greens. The micro green mix is arugula, broccoli, clover, cress, dill, fenugreek, mustard, and radish! 
  • Provided three free educational trainings for North Carolina State University, Whole Foods, and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, at our urban farm.
  • Created Leaf-Lover and Facebook web sites.
  • We bought a used shipping container and attached it to our old green house. 

"We moved through the fear of failure and now our dream has a foothold in reality". Steve McLeod (S.J.M.)   

This is our recycled shipping container it has been coated with insulating paint and is ready to "grow-up" and become a Salad Box.
This is our recycled shipping container it has been coated with insulating paint and is ready to "grow-up" and become a Salad Box.

Vertical Growing System

We have created a vertical growing system for lettuce and micro greens. Currently we raise fish, sprout plants, harvest and package in our green house, which is an over sized replica of a shipping container. 

Now the challenge is to compress all of the green house processes into the actual shipping container. And that's where Kickstarter comes in.  We need a kick to transform the shipping container into the growing system we call the Salad Box. 

This is our Leaf-Lovers vertical growing system, it filters the fish water and oxygenates the water for the plants. It holds friendly bacteria, red worms and the plants. The new plants simply slide in and the mature plants are easily pulled out.
This is our Leaf-Lovers vertical growing system, it filters the fish water and oxygenates the water for the plants. It holds friendly bacteria, red worms and the plants. The new plants simply slide in and the mature plants are easily pulled out.

 Phase two: Financing "Social networking advances the power of knowledge as we share our combined wealth". S.J.M.

We need a kick from Kickstarter to build the growing systems in a recycled shipping container.With donations from Kickstarter we will start installing the following:

  • Install the electrical systems, plumbing, ventilation, heating, and cooling systems. 
  • Assemble the vertical growing system.
  • Get the system operational and produce nutritious, delicious leafy  greens for our community.
  • Offer educational trainings for aquaponic urban farming. 
  • Duplicate the process for others that want a green business.

From Dream to Reality

In High School I first heard about aquaponics and how it's an efficient way to grow fish and vegetables. I have dreamed about putting together a system for thirty years.  Over the years I have been studying Building Science, Urban Farming and Climate Change. Now that the climate is changing and impacting agriculture it's time to turn our dream into reality.

Our Motivation 

The days of to-much have arrived; there is to much heat, to-much rain, to-much flooding, to-much wind, to-much hail, and its global. 

"So all aboard Leaf-Lovers, batten down the hatches it's about to get rough out there". S.J.M.

Extreme weather will continue to impact agriculture, property, and the economy.  So the solar Salad Box growing system is part of climate change adaption. It's good for the planet, the people, and local communities. 

Crazy Facts

  • The average meal in the U.S. travels 1,500 miles before reaching your plate.
  • The population of pollinators (bees and butterflies etc.)  are declining at a alarming rate. Most of the fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds we eat need to be pollinated. Pesticides/Herbicides are the likely cause of the honey bee colony collapse disorder.  Can't get fruit or seeds without pollination.
  • Grocery stores stock enough food for an average of only three days.
  • The Western United States is in an extreme drought and the yearly forecast calls for more of the same. 
  • Mono crop farming is NOT sustainable and causes top soil loss, and pollutes the streams and rivers with fertilizer runoff. 
  • Humanity, for quite a while has been and for the foreseeable future will be pumping more pollution (CO2) into the atmospheres than the oceans and forest can absorb.
  • Never in the last 800,000 years has CO2 levels been as high (400 ppm) as they are now.

The climate has changed, and we must adapt. The Salad Box is a healthier and more sustainable way of growing food.  We foresee Controlled Environment Agriculture, (growing in green houses) as a necessary adaptation to extreme weather. In shipping docks around this planet there are hundreds of thousands of used shipping containers that can be recycled, and refitted into Salad Box Green Houses.

A good investment is raising fish and plants in a weather secure building, because it's sustainable, durable and people want fresh organic food. The benefits of urban farming and the Salad Box are a reduced carbon foot print for food production, and an increase in freshness, flavor, and nutrition. It's a form of stewardship that is missing in today's farming practices and brings farming indoors to urban areas.

We have test marketed the lettuce with micro greens at Whole Foods, and I kid you not even kids were eating the lettuce and micro greens! Mothers commented "It's a great way to get additional greens into my kids without them knowing". "The verity of  micro greens is fantastic": arugula, broccoli, clover, cress, dill, fenugreek, mustard, and radish all  mixed with lettuce!

Spicy micro greens from our green house ready for harvest; arugula, broccoli, clover, cress, dill, fenugreek, mustard, and radish.
Spicy micro greens from our green house ready for harvest; arugula, broccoli, clover, cress, dill, fenugreek, mustard, and radish.
Leaf-Lover Grace conducting a taste test at Whole Foods.
Leaf-Lover Grace conducting a taste test at Whole Foods.

Be The Change

Leaf-Lovers have done their home work. We have educated ourselves, traveled to other aquaponic facilities for show and tell. Next we rented a tractor and carved up our back yard and then set in a shipping container. We experimented and developed a better growing system for healthy organic greens and created a unique salad mix with micro greens for salad lovers.

Our Story of Urban Farming

Five years ago Lori started a vegetable garden in the front yard; Less lawn mowing and more picking of juicy vegetables.  Each year we have been dealing with extreme weather. Excess heat, followed by torrential rain and damaging hail, so we decided to build a green house.

Fellow Leaf-Lover Lori says  " A calm sky, sunshine and gardening is heaven on earth".
Fellow Leaf-Lover Lori says " A calm sky, sunshine and gardening is heaven on earth".

 To keep our dream of urban farming alive we built an energy efficient green house. We built it with similar dimensions as a shipping container so we could get used to working within a long and narrow/limited space.

Our first green house was a radiant barrier aquaponic green house, made to resemble a shipping container - a mad scientist's play room. "Need a patiecent/kick ass wife if your taking on this hobby".
Our first green house was a radiant barrier aquaponic green house, made to resemble a shipping container - a mad scientist's play room. "Need a patiecent/kick ass wife if your taking on this hobby".
In the first green house we experimented with different ways of growing vegetables and Tilapia.
In the first green house we experimented with different ways of growing vegetables and Tilapia.

Wanting to maximize the use of space in the green house we tore the green house apart and rebuilt it with a new vertical growing system which is low maintenance and very easy to plant and harvest. 

Leaf-Lovers vertical growing system: Energy and water efficient, low maintenance and easy to use.
Leaf-Lovers vertical growing system: Energy and water efficient, low maintenance and easy to use.

The time has come to package all this vertical green goodness into a shipping container. With donations from Kickstarter we could be  producing this year before Santa Clause arrives!

Salad Box - a sustainable, urban farm green business, which makes healthy, organic food for your local community. We recycle old shipping containers into what we call the Salad Box.
Salad Box - a sustainable, urban farm green business, which makes healthy, organic food for your local community. We recycle old shipping containers into what we call the Salad Box.

 Leaf-Lovers Unite!!!

Risks and challenges

It took us a month of Sundays and our finances to design a low maintenance, easy to use vertical growing system, one that filters waste from the fish and is home to friendly bacteria, earth worms, and plants.

Growing enough produce to cover costs and make a profit is yet to be done. We need financing to increase our growing space.

Whole Foods will take all that we can grow, there are three stores in our area, also a food shelter, and there are two restaurants that want more of our produce.

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Support

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    Leaf-Lovers the world over thank you for your contribution!

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    Leaf-Lovers, Face book will list you as a contributor.

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    Leaf-Lovers random act of greenness:
    We will donate 1 box of our gourmet "Mix Lettuce With Micro Greens" to the food shelter. Your generosity will give substance to more than just us :)

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    Leaf-Lovers autographed urban farm post card sent to you and your name will be on our donation board, which is outside of the first (of many) Salad Box!

    Leaf-Lovers random act of greenness:
    We will donate 1 box of our gourmet "Mix Lettuce With Micro Greens" to the food shelter. Your generosity will give substance to more than just us :)

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    Leaf-Lover random act of greenness; we create a clipping/clone of our beautiful home grown tropical Golden Pathos plant, which we plant it in a recycled pot and personally give it to a person at the retirement center: Improves indoor air quality, is something an elderly person can care for, which warms their heart.

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    Leaf-Lovers micro greens growing kit; includes 1 growing tray, growing media, & seeds (Leaf-Lovers Mild Mix). Keep moist and in 12 to 14 days you will be enjoying delicious, nutritious micro greens.

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    Local Backers;
    Leaf-Lovers Climate Change Home Energy Audit and Indoor Air Quality Assessment; Inspect your rain water disbursement system, crawl space, air ducts and attic: Looking for moisture, mold, insulation and air infiltration issues. Includes pictorial report with recommendation for improvements... Climate change has arrived and its time to prepare for the extreme weather and reduce our energy use by making our home more energy efficient.

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    Leaf-Lover EcoSmart Carbon Furnace Filters; our furnace filters are smart they can do two things at once; capture chemicals and stop allergens. We designed them for improving indoor air quality. Twelve filters; each last 2 months.

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    Local Backer; Leaf-Lovers tour; you and up-to- five friends tour our facility, see the fishes, taste the plants, hear them grow, and each person takes home a box of our Mix Lettuce with Micro Greens!

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Funding period

- (29 days)