We're a group of engineers at Arizona State University that met a long long time ago (or well, back in 2014) while working on a community gardening project through a course called Engineering Projects in Community Service, or EPICS. The project was awesome - we were going to create a pilot aquaponics system for our local city government and eventually build a larger community garden for them. While on this journey we researched aquaponics extensively. We learned a lot, and frankly failed a lot, but it's made us the experts we are today.
We finished our pilot system in 2015. It wasn't very pretty, but we were very proud of it. It had two 80 gallon fish tanks, and five vertical growing towers ready for experimentation. It was the result of many weekends and long days of hard work, and some literal blood and sweat.
We filled our tanks, got some goldfish, and started up our system officially. We even kicked off the system with our first official tour. And then...
... total failure.
We forgot to put the tarp back on, and came back to a system with no more goldfish and, mysteriously enough, no goldfish remains. But, a lot of very suspicious looking birds in the area. And then came the literal nail in the coffin.
We melted a submersible heater through one of our fish tanks.
Directly through the side - draining the water and beautiful biology of our 160 gallon system.
This definitely wasn't the first failure we had hit, but this was by far the biggest and most painful one. We spent a lot of time thinking - what do we do now? We loved aquaponics, and loved this project. We saw the potential that this had to change how we grow food, and the potential to make agriculture more sustainable - we still wanted to make this work.
So why not start small?
One evening, Veronica - one of our co-founders - went up to the system. She took a long look at it, took a deep sigh, and grabbed one of the vertical growing towers. Later, she went home and cut the tower in half and grabbed a 5 gallon bucket that had been laying around. She had an idea.
She created a smaller aquaponics system, one that could be used in home to grow a small amount of produce. And one that could be set up in under an hour - not months. From this, the idea for the AquaGarden - and the Aquaponos that exists today was born.
From this idea, we've iterated numerous times through some pretty extensive market research, testing, and development. We've moved out of Veronica's backyard, and into a local light manufacturing space to start building our own products - designed, hand crafted, and built by us. We've competed to secure seed funding, and have worked for build our business around our mission - to make sustainable agriculture accessible to all.
We're proud with how far we've come thus far, and have much further to go. We hope you'll join us on this journey.