New Earth Solutions makes growing your own produce as simple as downloading an app
Mitchell Cowburn has always been inspired by the natural world and wanted to do something that would proactively preserve and improve it by using nature to build healthier cities and built environments. Mitchell was working independently as a consultant for sustainable green technologies when he approached Dylan Robertson to be his business partner with the idea of entering the sustainable real estate retrofit industry. Together they realized the area with the greatest potential was living walls and from there they developed their company, New Earth Solutions.
With the help of Innovation Guelph programming, they were able to successfully launch their business. The Startup Program allowed them to learn from trusted professionals and through the Agri-Innovation Accelerator they built their own technologies, developed Intellectual Property (IP), and began to scale up their company. In the latter program, Mitchell and Dylan focused on product design and engineering, marketing, and investment opportunities. They also conducted market research and have since launched their first product, Respira, a simple vertical hydroponic system for homes that cleans the air with plants and is easily installed in under 20 minutes.
Through their research, New Earth Solutions was referred to the Seeding Our Food Future Program to further develop Respira to include in-home vegetable and herb growth. Not only does this create a more localized system of food production, Respira does it while improving the air quality in your home. These living walls are a hydroponic system that recirculates water through a vertical growing media. New Earth Solutions has also created a way to use smart technology to automate the system that regulates all the variables around growing (nutrients, water quality, lighting, etc.). People that do not have confidence in taking care of plants can feel comfortable growing their own produce and have air-purifying plants at the same time.
For Mitchell, circularity means improving efficiency and reducing waste from products. As an overarching principle that governs the world, circularity is a natural system that works in cycles and loops. Mitchell believes that this is a model we should all adopt. New Earth Solutions has worked diligently to integrate this model into Respira by minimizing the inputs and eliminating waste. The growing media lasts the course of the unit and the unit itself is meant to last a lifetime. Respira can easily be serviced, and all parts can be swapped out effortlessly and quickly. It is designed to accept improvements in the future for both software and hardware upgrades. To ensure that a living wall functions properly, the team at New Earth Solutions has developed an app that pairs with Respira to monitor the various aspects of the unit. It also improves and monitors air quality, sends alerts when more water is needed, and notifies a customer if anything is going wrong with the system.
New Earth Solutions released Respira in the fall and has since started a kickstarter campaign to fund production. If you are interested in purchasing a unit or supporting the company check out their website and kickstarter page.