This is a guest blog by Jason Green of Edenworks. Growstone is collaborating with this Brooklyn-based startup helping to build the future of urban farming. 

Presently, cities are largely hubs of consumption, but there’s a growing tide that is instead moving cities toward becoming closed and renewable ecosystems. Much of the driving force behind this change is increasingly conscientious consumers demanding locally and sustainably grown food. But a gap exists between the availability of this local produce, especially in cities, and the ever-increasing demand.

Some technologies, like hydroponics and aquaponics, offer a glimmer of hope for solving this problem. However, large scale systems are expensive to build, require significant expertise to operate, and are further constrained by the uniquely cramped and vertical environment of cities.

Edenworks’ solution is to build farms vertically, just like cities, by fusing efficient aquaponic farming with a modular, stackable design. We designed a vertically and horizontally interlocking system that allows for simple, Ikea-like construction of commercial-capacity aquaponic farms.

Additionally, we automated our system by embedding sensors to monitor the farming environment. Sensor data is streamed to the cloud, where users can monitor their farm’s performance or change settings via a web app. Soon enough, our users won’t even have to make decisions about their farm’s operation–growing will be optimized by mining farm data with machine learning algorithms.

At Edenworks, we’re thrilled to be collaborating with Growstone. Their product weighs a fraction of competing expanded clay or gravel, making it a perfect medium for building farms on urban rooftops. It also makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that the medium we’re using is recycled (or really upcycled), not a greenwashed fauxvironmental product. Growstones are also much better for our plants and fish than these other media: they provide more air to the roots of plants and create a better biofilter for breaking down fish waste into useful fertilizer for the plants.

As we build out our flagship 1,000 square foot rooftop farm in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Growstone will provide us with their innovative growing medium. In exchange, Edenworks will provide the Growstone team with environmental data from our farms through our web app, allowing them to use that data to optimize their product specifically for Aquaponic applications. Growstone helps Edenworks build greener and more efficient farms; Edenworks helps Growstone make better media for aquaponics, which in turn will make other aquaponic farms more productive; and around it goes…

For more info on Edenworks, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @EdenworksGrows, or email us at info@edenworks.org.