Location: Los Angeles, California
Founder: Sabrina Williams
INDUSTRY – Smart agriculture
Size: $6.3B in 2017 (Global market; Source: Markets and Markets Research Report)
Projections: Multiple reports:
- $13.5B by 2023 (Global market; Source: Markets and Markets Research Report)
- $26.76B by 2020 (Global market; Source: Statista Smart Agriculture Statistics)
SEED, short for South Los Angeles Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development is a “farm in a box” automatic irrigation kit that helps farm entrepreneurs better use technology to increase their yields and also help maintain a positive ecological impact. It aims to harness technology and aquaponics to help explore water conservation among farm entrepreneurs.
SEED was started by Sabrina Williams in 2018. It is a privately held registered public benefit corporation, and is strongly focussed on sustainable development and targeted at underdeveloped communities.
SEED is, at its simplest, an automatic irrigation kit. The team claims SEED is a “full-service, technologically-advanced “farm in a box” that allows everyone — from small plot farmers to windowsill growers — to grow more food while gaining 21st century skills.” It works as “an automatic irrigation and plant monitoring system powered by renewable energy sources — like solar or biomass — and run by Arduino.” Arduino is an open-source prototyping platform which helps users create interactive electronic objects.
The kit can be used by individuals and institutions to grow plants in a farm or on a window sill by harnessing the power of aquaponics. It monitors and manages plant moisture and, with certain add-ons, monitor soil health. The box is constructed to allow users to remove components and connect to a container or a planter. The container itself is degradable and has a lifespan of 2 years for outside use and 3 years for inside use.
The compact SEED system is offered as a standalone kit for DIY installations. The team also provides workshop demonstrations and garden and farm installations to individual and institutional clients.
Origin and Founding Team
The idea for SEED was born out of the founder Sabrina Williams’ work with groups “across the US as a community organiser and organisational development specialist.” She started a non-profit for emerging groups that guided them through the process of business formation. It was while working with these groups that the idea of the SEED project was born with the objective of addressing “sustainability practices and food security in low-income, transitional and homeless populations.”
The founder, Sabrina Williams, has a background in architecture, law, and urban planning. She has previously started Home and Community Inc. in 2000 in Washington D.C. with the aim of helping low-income communities on multiple aspects. She continues to serve as its executive director.
Joining Sabrina is Ruby Rios, a UX/UI and interdisciplinary designer who collaborates with social entrepreneurs and designers to help create digital and physical solutions for them. At SEED, she helps train youth in “microprocessor coding and CAD and designs the SEED code and packaging.”
The team is completed by Easter Thames, the Chief Technology Officer. She is a graduate of Columbia University and has a background in biomedical and mechanical engineering. She has previously worked with a team of biomedical engineers to create a portable air quality monitoring device named AQubeI. She “brings experience in UI/UX development and a passion for creative endeavors to design of the SEED irrigation system.”
Performance and Trends
The company was one of the 13 small businesses selected from over 200 applicants as the first cohort of the Founders Business Accelerator (FBA), a program jointly run by the LA Cleantech Incubator and the Mayor’s Office of the City of Los Angeles. The program includes mentorship and provides up to $5000 of support in legal, HR, and marketing services.
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