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Uproot - Urban Agriculture Startup

Closed Cause page created in the Environment category by Tobias Heeringa for "Uproot"

  • $434.20 donated
  • 11 generous donors

Help us reduce New Zealand’s environmental impact by bringing farming from the country to the city with urban agriculture and vertical farms

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Technology Sustainability Big Ideas

We are Uproot, a budding group of vertical farm enthusiasts with a dream of helping New Zealand take a step forward into the future of agriculture. Our team consists of 5 university students with very little horticultural experience, but enough concern for the degradation of our environment to do something about it and build a business to take farms out of the country and into the city, helping make New Zealand’s future as a leader in agriculture technology a reality. What we are asking of you today, is to help us get out feet wet. We need funds to scale up our current vertical farm prototype we have built as a university project to a level where we can distribute spinach and other veggies to Auckland locals.


What is vertical farming? In a word, it is a technological solution to growing plants. Vertical farms are automated, fully controlled, multi-level growing environments that use a combination of software analytics, energy efficient LED lighting, sensor controls and closed loop water and nutrient recirculation systems to nourish and grow plants such as lettuces, spinach and other vegetables using a fraction of the resources needed for traditional farming. Vertical farming systems do not use soil, fertilisers or nasty pesticides. Instead the plants thrive on nutrient rich water misted directly onto their roots.

But why do we need this, you might ask. Why can’t we keep growing food the way we have always done, in the ground?

Namely, for the environment. Vertical farming is a hugely sustainable alternative to our current reliance on a globalised agricultural network. Because the plants are inside, they can grow all year round, no matter what season. There’s no longer a dependency on weather, so there’s no need to spray plants with herbicides and pesticides. Vertical farming systems also use around 95% less water than traditional farming methods and because the conditions are so ideal for the plants they grow way faster, sometimes up to four times as fast!

Best of all, vertical farming systems can be set up anywhere, including right in the heart of a city, so you can cut out transport costs and significantly lower Co2 emissions. Simply put it’s the sustainable solution we need and a great way to enjoy the benefits of delicious, fresh and locally grown produce .

Vertical farming is quickly being adopted around the world. A Japanese company Mira uses a completely automated multi-level system spanning half the size of a football field. It is already 100 times more productive per square foot than traditional methods. AeroFarms, one of many US based mass scale vertical farming companies is producing leafy greens, herbs and lettuces in huge quantities everyday.

The world stands on the brink of an agricultural revolution. The global increase in population and the densification of urban areas means that by 2050 we will be facing an unprecedented demand for food. The current land-based agricultural model we have employed for thousands of years will not support this demand. What does this mean for New Zealand, a country extremely reliant on our pasture and rural based agricultural and horticultural industries? Not good things. Unfortunately New Zealand stands in a position to be left behind as other countries start waking up to the realisation that there is a better, cheaper, smarter and more sustainable alternative to growing plants.


Currently, we have a prototype and a dream. We need money to make a better system that works on a locally commercial scale. Working from a parents garage, we will build our second vertical farm system. The design is modular, meaning we can easily scale the size of the system up once production gets started. Our goal is to produce 50 leafy green crops per week by the end of year. We also need funds to cover maintenance, delivery of crops, and utility (water/electricity) costs.

Use of Funds:

Please consider donating. We see this as an opportunity to change the way we do agriculture for the better. We can preserve our unique environment while providing fresh food for future New Zealanders. We pride ourselves on living in a ‘clean, green’ country, so let’s all work together to upgrade the way we feed ourselves and in doing so ensure a more sustainable future. Help us make this vision for sustainability a reality! Thank you!

Page created by:

Tobias Heeringa


Uproot is Connor, Curtis, Tobias, Julian and Matt, and exists as a result of the creative technologies course at AUT university.

All funds raised benefit:


Funds will be paid to a verified bank account of Tobias Heeringa on behalf of Uproot.

“Wow, Iove your work!!!”
“:) ☆☆☆☆☆ exciting venture ya'll”
“This is awesome. Good luck turning agriculture on its head!”
“Giz us sum spinach”
“Youth working in agricultural sector is amazing”
  • $434.20 donated
  • 11 generous donors

$434 donated



This cause page was created on 12 Jun 2017 and closed at 23:59 NZST (UTC +12:00) on 23 Jul 2017.

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