Focus: Land Resources and Water Resources
Location: Steenbergen, Netherlands
It is well understood that agriculture uses a lot of water. Every time we turn on the news or log onto the internet, we are reminded of the massive droughts plaguing California and the Middle East, mostly due to water-intensive agriculture. According to the World Health Organization, almost 1 in 5 people lack access to safe drinking water. In areas with access, up to 70% of available freshwater is used for agriculture. If current agricultural practices are to continue, mankind could potentially run out of irrigation water within a few centuries. Luckily, Groasis Technology allows for farming without any form of irrigation, opening up even the most arid lands to the possibility of agriculture.
Groasis was founded in Holland in 2003 by Peter Hoff, a former lily breeder. During his time working in the flower industry, he realized how rapidly worldwide groundwater levels were declining. This realization laid the foundation for Groasis, a company that focuses on innovative technologies that allow for sustainable cultivation of plants in arid regions. Groasis prides itself on its ability to change wasteland into productive land by creating water essentially out of thin air. The Groasis Waterboxx Plant Cocoon, the company’s best-selling product, is a technologically innovative bucket that houses two plants. The product functions as a plant incubator, sheltering the saplings from the heat of the sun, while simultaneously providing them with water. These Plant Cocoons can be placed in extremely dry, eroded areas to reforest the land. They collect water from scarce rainfall, as well as produce water through condensation within the Waterboxx. The atmosphere inside the Waterboxx is ideal for growth and provides the plants with stable temperature and humidity during their lifespan. With a success rate of 90%, Groasis proves to be a viable solution to increasing the productivity of so-called “degraded” lands.
Since its launch, Groasis has received a variety of awards commending its commitment to positive social and environmental change. Most notably, the company won the Popular Science Green Tech Best of What’s New award in 2010. The Waterboxx is currently being used by a wide range of consumers, from community gardens to farmers across the globe. People are even beginning to use the Waterboxx in their own personal gardens, especially in drier climates. Peter Hoff wants the device to be available to anyone, employing a business model that “enables the world’s poor to buy a box.” Hoff has spoken to a Dutch bank about implementing a micro-finance scheme that would make the Waterboxx more affordable to farmers in developing countries. Beyond helping solve the global water crisis, Hoff believes his invention can promote large scale reforestation to address greater problems including global hunger, soil erosion and climate change. Groasis continues to work toward its goal of reforesting the world with 5 billion acres of ecologically valuable trees in the next 40 years. Do you think the Waterboxx has what it takes to put an end to deforestation?
Environmental Impact: sustainable agriculture, reforestation, efficient/reduced water use, reduced soil erosion
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