A pair of Montreal innovators are using crowd-funded seed money to launch a new business aimed at would-be gardeners.
Bryce Nagels and Douglas Hindle are the men behind the Nutritower, a hydroponics growing system designed for small apartments without much natural light.
"We designed this to allow people who live in cities to grow food. People who don't have garden spaces now have the opportunity to grow their own food," said Nagels.
Last year they appealed to the masses through the Kickstarter website, and in late December reached their goal of collecting more than $32,000 in pledges, enough money to create two dozen of the indoor gardens and sell them to buyers who have already come forward.
The Nutritower itself is a narrow tower with lights running along a central pillar. Around the lights up to two dozen hanging pots hold nutrient fluid and small plants, such as lettuce, mint, or strawberries.
Turn on the lights for 12 to 24 hours a day, make sure the water and nutrients are circulating, and food is ready to harvest in a few weeks.
"Right now I'm growing lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers," said Nagels. "I've done melons in the past."
At this point the setup is not cheap, with units selling for just under $1,000, but the demand is widespread.
"We've been getting people buying them in Denmark, Sweden, UK. We've had people in Japan," said Nagels.
Nagels and Hindle say people buying the towers know they're making a long-term investment.
"I think that having access to your own food in your own home, year round, is something that people need," said Hindle.