The idea behind HATponics came to CEO Ryan Cox while he was watching the film “Beyond Borders” starring Angelina Jolie.
In the film, they were sending truckloads of grains, rice and other foods to refugee camps. “I thought to myself,” said Cox, “’Why wouldn’t they just send them a farm?’ And a light bulb went off.” The goal: to send FARMS, not FOOD to those in need, in hopes of ultimately feeding 20 million people worldwide by 2020.
HATponics produces portable, high-density farms using aquaponics, the hybrid of hydroponics and aquaculture. The farms include a mix of rock, water, fish and plants enclosed in a balanced ecosystem. In these gardens, the fish fertilize the plants and the plants filter the waste out of the water.
In layman’s terms, HATponics uses the waste from the fish to grow food, such as herbs, vegetables and fruit, in a compact format. These sustainable farms are portable, scalable, and reduce water and space consumption by 90%.
These portable farms can be found in over twenty countries and in five different continents around the world, from places like local schools and the Downtown Chattanooga YMCA, to the African savanna and even a cruise ship! The gardens are contained inside large portable containers that can be shipped anywhere around the world, with the containers being capable of feeding between 300 and 500 people.
Cox is working in schools and around the community to help educate youth about sustainability and alternative farming methods. The work they do in schools provides hands-on STEM learning opportunities for students – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Providing students with alternative techniques of learning these subjects helps to inspire creativity and passion in those crucial ever-growing fields.
At this year’s Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire, Cox will be in attendance walking observers through aquaponics and how HATponics works. Attendees will get to learn the fundamentals behind how an aquaponics ecosystem functions and the benefits of this system. Every aspect of the system will be on display from the engine and the live fish, to the final product – edible vegetables.
To learn more about HATponics, visit their website.
Mark Your Calendar! The Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire will be at the First Tennessee Pavilion on September 9th. Attendance is FREE.