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    Date submitted
  • 14-May-2017

Grow2Cycle

Abstract

Grow2Cycle provides a comprehensive solution for food waste with integrated compost / garden installations and an interactive online platform that promotes urban gardening alternatives for small spaces and tight budgets.

Video

Original YouTube URL: Open

Introduction Video

Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

The existing “direct-to-consumer” composting service providers in the Auckland region are centralized, involve truck-based logistics and are not accessible for residential customers. People can purchase their own worm bins directly (i.e., “Hungry Bins”), however this option can be expensive, takes time to set up and can seem daunting without an expert to install and show how it is done. Grow2Cycle will offer subscriptions to University students and apartment dwellers (Grafton/ Parnell regions to start), so that they “can grow in small spaces, with a tight budget and in a sustainable way.” Complete installation services for integrated compost / indoor garden systems will be targeted towards University clubs, small businesses and community groups; which provide a combination of funding and shared ownership. The latter target audience has been the only viable consumer for existing composting collection companies, such as “We Compost”, “Reclaim Ltd.” and “Pink Bins”. Market research with an open Facebook poll showed that composting services and a subscription service for the “plant of the month” were almost as popular as a conventional vegetable delivery service: Figure 4: Market research from a Facebook poll from a diverse audience of demographics The Parnell and Britomart Farmers Markets and the Auckland CBD Countdown, provide case studies showing that the sale of live organic plants and herbs can be a viable business in downtown Auckland. University students and staff have proven to be viable customers that are keen to set up gardens (see Figure 5a) and “willingness to buy” from a simple stall with low foot traffic during the “Help Green our Uni Market Day” (see Figures 2b and 5b). Figure 5: University staff and student interest in urban gardens. (a) Direct poll response; (b) actual sales numbers of garden materials

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

Studies show that food waste costs NZ approximately 870 million dollars a year1, and that food waste, paper and green waste contributes 47-54% of the total waste composition2. The consumption and production cycles of our modern food systems have become totally separated, and typical consumers (especially in urban areas) are not engaged in any process of the food chain. At Grow2Cycle, we passionately believe that by engaging the community in food production, we will help promote the significance and value of “everyday” groceries and solve the problem of “what do we do with the compost once we made it”. Grow2Cycle will offer a simple, compact solution for recycling coffee grounds, fruit peels, vegie scraps and shredded paper into compost and valuable liquid fertilizer, with a worm farm installation and online training modules. Worm farms enable a high throughput of approximately 3kg per day, in a small volume and with little to no smell3! A flourishing system of worm farms have already been established in our local Community Garden at the top of Symonds St.*. Furthermore, we have obtained a reliable source of cheap, recycled 20L bins from a local supplier (>100/wk). By integrating worm farms with a subscription-based service that offers low-maintenance, “indoor gardens”, Grow2Cycle provides a closed-loop solution to waste. The effluent from the worm-bins is a convenient and potent liquid fertilizer that is very important for promoting growth in small containers of “windowsill gardens” of herbs, flowers and/or lettuces. This is enhanced by a cheap, sustainable and highly effective self-watering plant growing system, comprised of upcycled plastic bottles (see below). By providing eye-catching, easy-to attach stickers and/or home-printed designs, this offers a simple, cheap and scalable solution for urban growing in small spaces. There is also great potential to employ local artists, by upcycling the containers into bespoke, hand-painted vintage planter designs4. Figure 2: Upcycled plastic bottle conainer garden designs. (a) Home-made illustrative digital schematic for self-watering container gardens for conveniently growing small plants from seed in windowsills; (b) Example planter designs sold at “Help Green our Uni Market Day” stall at the University of Auckland, May 11th 2017. Grow2Cycle will increase exposure by providing schematics and step-by-step instructions in an “open-source” format and a Youtube channel: “Grow2Cycle Urban Gardening”. The subscription-based Facebook group provides an interactive “live photo feed” of the “plant of the month, and offers a unique and authentic experience that is a key component in making urban gardening “sexy”. Customer interactions at the market stall, proved that “Do-it-Yourself” seed kits are a good option, to allow kids to get “hands on” in the planting and due to the logistical challenges of distributing live plants. Seed kits can offer great value for money, by providing a convenient pack that includes compost, potting mix, plant label, a custom-designed planter sticker and a pamphlet with instructions and link to online instruction videos. 1 Edmunds, S. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/73762879/Food-waste-costs-New-Zealand-870m . 2 2009. Environmental report card: Solid waste composition. (INFO 420). 3HungryBin. http://www.hungrybin.co.nz/instructions/feeding/ . 4 Rebekah Burbery Art. https://www.facebook.com/RebekahBurberyArt/

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

The existing “direct-to-consumer” composting service providers in the Auckland region are centralized, involve truck-based logistics and are not accessible for residential customers. People can purchase their own worm bins directly (i.e., “Hungry Bins”), however this option can be expensive, takes time to set up and can seem daunting without an expert to install and show how it is done.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

Nathaniel Burbery provides the primary “leadership” role and is an engineering PhD student in the final stages of his tertiary studies. Nathaniel is a passionate individual (some might say eccentric), whose life’s mission is to contribute pragmatically to achieve the greatest sustainable happiness for people, and reduce society’s environmental footprint. He currently facilitates a Grow2Cycle Youtube channel, Facebook group and contributes in several Community Gardens and was responsible for sales at the Market Day stall. Nathaniel has demonstrated that he is willing to commit, full-time, towards the startup of the social-venture described in this report, if sufficient financial sustainability can be proven. Alex Guthrie is a proactive community member, who is currently employed in the public sector and is engaged in several creative groups. Alex is a valuable communications and public-relations team member, and has established a proven supply chain for sourcing worm bins. Rebekah Burbery is an extremely creative individual, who is responsible for establishing the creative designs and artwork for upcycled planter pots. Her contributions also provide a very important pilot-scale “proof-of-concept” for the growth potential and the vitally important increase of profit margin, for expanding the potential for employment in the future.