21 Apr Mizuku – An aeroponic garden project by our Community
What makes Urban Campus special is definitely our community of professional and restless minds looking to grow and collaborate with one another, working together to create new projects and launch new initiatives.
Yukari Isawa, and Max Wolter, came together to develop this project with the aim of growing plants through aeroponic & hydroponic techniques, which enable the plants to grow faster and stronger. Yukari & Max have been developing this project in our Malasaña Madrid Coliving space’s common areas.
Their ultimate business goal is to launch a subscription service to rent aeroponic devices and a mobile app to control these so users – who won’t need to have previous botanic knowledge or skills- can grow plants in their own living rooms. We wanted to know more about this admirable and visionary project, to show how easy it is to plant and grow vegetables for your own consumption using a sustainable & smart method. Keep reading to discover how you can avoid buying products that don’t specify traceability or growing practices!
What is your project about?
Mizuku is about the creation of a device and a mobile App that gives anyone the power to grow their own organic, healthy & fresh food at home, right in their kitchen. Many people are not aware that even food that is labelled ‘bio’ in the EU can be contaminated by dozens of chemical products. Our vision is a future where plants can be grown naturally by anyone, without prior knowledge thanks to our high tech integrations.
What does ‘Mizuku’ mean?
It comes from the Japanese words Mizu(水) which means ‘water’ & Ku (Kuu)(空) which stands for ‘Air/Sky’ or ‘emptiness’ in the Zen concept.
Can you explain what ‘Hydroponics & ’‘Aeroponics’ mean?
Aeroponics derives from aquaponics, where the word for ‘water’ (aqua) is replaced with the word ‘air’ (aero). Aquaponics is a method where plants grow their roots directly in the water, thus, eliminating the need to grow them in soil. It’s quite a simple & reliable way to grow plants, and provides similar results to normal cultures. As the name implies, for aeroponics, the roots will be hanging directly in the air. Plants are able to absorb nutrients through a fine mist that is sprayed into the air regularly to keep the environment moist.
Due to the sophisticated nature of the technology, a lot can go wrong. Nevertheless, once you get it right, you are rewarded with plants that grow twice as fast and almost twice as big, the food will be twice as nutrient-rich as well.
How was this project created?
One of our fellow colivers put up a water-mist device on the balcony during some of the hottest days of last summer. This reminded me (Max) of the research I put into the topic a few years ago. As I was between projects and wanted to relax for a few months before jumping into the next venture, I thought it would be a nice hobby project to spend my time on. It also struck me as an interesting time to start the project; in cities, it’s difficult to know where your food comes from and whether it is really healthy. With the increased focus on local communities due to the pandemic, it seemed like a good way to provide people with a healthy alternative to supermarkets.
How has Urban Campus helped you develop this project?
First of all, we wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for Urban Campus and also the coliving concept makes it easier to collaborate and start a project together. We also had the chance to grow our plants in the common spaces, which was really helpful for us, we could immediately start the project.
Furthermore, this is not only about space. The corner of the office gave us a showroom to exhibit our project, a few colivers have supported our project by adding their own ideas from various professional perspectives and experiences, such as working as an electronic engineer and growing plants as a hobby. If we had just grown these plants in our own place, we would not have been able to count on the kind of support we needed to keep developing the project in the right direction.
What else can Urban Campus do to help this project?
Urban Campus not only has space, but also a great community consisting of people from different professions, cultures & backgrounds. It would be great to expose our project to the whole community to get more advice from different perspectives.
Where do you see Mizuku in 1 year?
I imagine we will at least have a big hydroponic/aeroponic garden somewhere, that provides plenty for us and our friends. We would also like to offer our garden to the Urban Campus coworking & coliving community. Ideally, we will also have sufficient knowledge to have a prototype that is on the right track for commercialization.
If you are interested in nature, sustainability and looking to be part of a fantastic international community of professionals, don’t wait another minute, apply to our coliving & coworking spaces in Madrid.