If you can't bring the people to the garden, then why not bring the garden to them? This project seeks to raise funds to build a mobile hydroponic demonstration and education unit in a standard box trailer (outfitted with clear polycarbonate panels) that will travel to nearby metropolitan areas to demonstrate the technology and provide education to groups. This mobile garden -- the "SCIENCEgarden Module" -- will also make a unique statement while driving to and from these destinations as passers-by will be able to see inside. Below is the concept illustration (please excuse the artwork; I am not an artist :)).
What is hydroponics, and how does it work?
The SCIENCEgarden Module will contain a 10 foot long by 36 inch wide hydroponic system suspended from the ceiling of the trailer. This hydroponic system is based on the original prototypes I have built and used. The hydroponic system will grow herbs and vegetables. Below is the Snekkja prototype system, which is twenty feet long.
On the opposite side of the trailer will be a walkway that leads to a side exit door so that visitors can walk through the trailer and observe the system. The front of the trailer will be for storage of promotional materials and room for someone to stand to speak to visitors.
What will it look like on the outside?
From the exterior observers will see a 12 foot long box trailer that has been modified with polycarbonate panels on the sides and the roof. Observers will have a clear view into the SCIENCEgarden Module from both sides and will be able to see the plants growing and suspended in the hydroponic system. The rear doors will be used a display area for sponsors, logos, and other information. The front nose of the trailer will also contain space for sponsors and branding.
How does the funding get used?
Polycarbonate sheets: $500
Hydroponic system: $200
Vinyl decals and branding: $100
Educational and promotional materials:$100
Travel and other expenses: $100
Using a truck to pull the SCIENCEgarden Module, obviously $100 doesn't go very far for travel expenses.
The trailer itself will be provided by me since I already own the trailer that will become the donor. All construction will be performed by myself and any volunteers that wish to help.
Some of the reward images won't be available until the first week of July. However, here is the hydroponic tote unit that becomes available with a $75 donation! The tote comes with net pots, perlite, seeds, starter cubes, nutrient, air pump and stone.
What if you raise more than $1,000?
I have so much confidence in this idea that I think we can raise more than $1,000. This is about education, science, and getting people in touch with living plants, and I think that this is something we as a society are desperately in need of.
If we can raise $1,500, I can have 250 t-shirts made to hand out at some of the stops along the journey.
If we can raise $2,000, I will add LED Lighting to the SCIENCEgarden Module so that it can be used into extended hours of the evening.
If we can get to $2,500, we will make a special journey to Boston, MA and Albany, NY to get the SCIENCEgarden Module to even more people.
What will the SCIENCEgarden Module accomplish?
After assembly of the SCIENCEgarden Module is complete, it will embark on a two-week journey to visit neighboring communities and large metropolitan areas including NYC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. At these locations the SCIENCEgarden Module will stop at a per-determined location and become a mobile exhibit for education about hydroponics. The SCIENCEgarden Module will also visit groups that are interested in having the SCIENCEgarden Module make a presentation for their group or organization.
Following the two-week tour, the SCIENCEgarden Module will be used for local educational demonstrations to school groups and organizations. It will also be available to travel to locations within a reasonable radius of Lebanon, Pennsylvania for a donation.
What have you accomplished so far?
As of June 1, I have developed a 20ft long prototype unit the "Snekkja" that is currently growing onions, herbs, and cuttings. It was based on my original prototype unit that was used to grow lettuce, herbs, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. Both units are self-contained and require maintenance about twice weekly. I also have developed a system which was full of strawberries, and another system that has watermelons, cantaloupes, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and zucchini.
Can I become a named sponsor?
Yes! As a backer, you can make a pledge to have your name or business featured on the SCIENCEgarden Module.
For a $10 donation, your name or business will be hand-written on a 1" x 6" space on the front nose of the SGM.
For a $35 donation, your name or business will be featured in the "Gold Sponsors" Column on the front nose of the SGM in a space 2" x 6".
For a $50 donation, your name or business will be featured in the "Platinum Sponsors" column on the front nose of the SGM in a space 2" x 6".
For a $125 donation, your name or business will be featured on the front nose of the SGM in a space 6" x 12". This space can also be used for a logo.
For a $300 donation, your name or business will be featured on the side space or rear door of the SGM in a space 12" x 12". This space can also be used for a logo.
For a $500, you will become a premiere sponsor and be featured on the rear door in a 18" x 18" space. This space can also be used for a logo.
All names and logos will remain on the SGM until at least December 31, 2012.
Why are you starting this project?
This project is about sharing knowledge with people about plants and hydroponics. It is amazing how many people in metropolitan areas are unfamiliar with how plants grow. Many have not had access to the soil, so they haven't had a chance to grown plants. Any exposure they can have to how food is grown is important.
This project will also preface a Kickstarter project that will launch in August to build aa education center to expand upon systems like the one featured in the SCIENCEgarden Module. The SCIENCEgarden Module will be used to help promote the funding of that Kickstarter during the two-week touring period, and after.
Sounds good, but who are you?
My name is Aubrey Hanford, and I have been a farmer since 2009 where I really found my calling. Great joy comes from sharing my experiences with other people. I'm a hands-on kind of guy and I never stop wondering “What if?” or “Why not?”. My philosophy is that the only limitations in our lives are the ones that we voluntarily create.
My company is Second Sun Hydroponics and we build these hydroponic systems and plan to being marketing them to customers soon. I believe in sharing knowledge with others through educational experiences, so 10% of the business income is devoted to education and outreach. The SCIENCEgarden Module will become an integral part of this philosophy.
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