Interview with Alessandro Grampa, Hexagro co-founder
Interview with Alessandro Grampa, Hexagro co-founder, a company that offers technological solutions for vertical agriculture.
Eating healthy foods is one of the first forms of natural prevention for our health. Very often, however, access to healthy foods is particularly complex for a number of reasons:
– structural, such as the absence of suitable places for cultivation
– poor knowledge of agricultural techniques for those who want to ”improvise” to be a farmer.
The Hexagro mission is to guarantee to anyone, and everywhere, the accessibility to vertical farming technologies to promote the production of healthy food even in Spaces deemed inadequate at one time and to encourage production even by those who do not know so much about agriculture. How? Through Poty, let’s see what we are talking about
The Hexagro products are born with the intention of really allowing everyone to produce healthy foods in complete autonomy, without the need for large spaces, land or special knowledge. From today, with Hexagro you can have your own garden at home and enjoy the fruits of your harvest, in a simple, innovative and above all healthy way! To do this, just log in on the site and order the pot of your choice.
Ah, I forgot, Poty is nothing more than your small vertical vegetable garden ready to be installed on your balcony. Like this you see below:
Nice, isn’t it?
To start experimenting with your green thumb – which you don’t have to have, because with Poty you also get a super intuitive guide that will help you in all stages of production-you just need a square meter!
Poty in fact develops in height (it is a vertical vegetable garden!) and can be of two sizes: from 20 plants or from 40 plants. Dear reader, I think so much that the time has come to abandon the alibi that you do not cultivate because you do not have space 😛
The Poty super guide
Another advantage of hosting a Poty in your balcony is that of irrigation: through a central system controlled by a timer, you can forget to water your plants, Poty will take care of it for you.
If we have intrigued you and you want to know more about Hexagro, reat the interview with Alessandro, Co-founder of the company.
Hello Alessandro, nice to meet you and thank you for the time you are dedicating to us. Tell us more about this amazing project
We at Hexagro are dedicated to designing and developing vertical farming technologies to reconnect man to nature. We are a start-up founded in 2016, and we are based in Milan: ours is a young and multicultural team, the culture within the company is based on teamwork and collaboration, flexibility, versatility and honest communication. We have developed two products, Poty and The Living Farming Tree, to allow anyone to grow healthy food, anywhere.
The Living Farming Tree is a vertical aeroponic and automated vegetable garden, designed to grow indoors. It uses LED lights to grow and uses aeroponics technology, which means that plants do not use substrate to grow and are suspended in the air. They receive the right amount of water and light thanks to a software that determines and sets the cultivation parameters for each plant, to ensure optimal growth in each space.
Poty instead is a vertical vegetable garden for outdoor or bright indoors. It uses a coconut substrate to grow, and the plants are watered with an automatic fertigation system. It allows simple cultivation and in limited space, ideal for all those who do not have time to try their hand at a traditional horizontal vegetable garden. As our vision is to ensure access to healthy food for everyone, everywhere, we use our technologies and know how to promote social projects and inspire sensibility into disadvantaged communities all around the world about the benefits of vertical agriculture.
How and when was the idea of Poty born?
Poty was developed during the Covid-19 crisis in the spring of 2020, in response to the increased demand for home gardens that were affordable in terms of price and size, to meet any (urban) agricultural need. We wanted to make it possible to grow healthy food at km 0 even for those who live in the city and have only a small balcony. Poty is also aimed at those who think they do not have a green thumb but would like to try their hand at cultivation, because it is also provided with a digital guide that explains step by step how to cultivate.
It plays a key role in our impact strategy, as a portion of Poty sales revenues is dedicated to the development and consolidation of social projects in farming communities in Colombia.
How long did it take to shape the project?
Hexagro officially established itself in 2016, but was born a short time earlier from the thesis of Felipe Hernandez, co-founder and CEO, on regenerative agriculture and pesticide-free agricultural technologies. After being awarded among the finalists of the Design Biomimicry Challenge in 2015 we started our activities in Milan.
How important is it to insist on sustainability and healthy eating while respecting the environment, in a time as complicated as this? How do you think your technology can help in this regard?
Fundamental. Sustainability must not only be a catchphrase, but a real mindset to adopt in order to be able to build a better world respecting nature, the planet and people. Choosing to adopt sustainable solutions such as consuming seasonal foods at km 0 (or even better, growing them), is a small but important step to reduce your environmental impact and make a difference in the battle against climate change.
Thanks to our technologies we give our users the possibility to grow directly at home, thus reducing the production chain of food and weighing less on the environment. In this way they will be able to consume healthy, nutritious foods, grown without the use of pesticides or chemicals, and above all regain awareness towards the rhythms and needs of nature, in order to be more careful, responsible and sustainable in their food and consumption choices.
Tell us how Poty works and why it’s sustainable
Poty is a modular vertical garden with a fertigation system that feeds plants with nutrient micro-drops to provide the elements needed for efficient and healthy growth. This method saves 60% more water than traditional land cultivation methods. Poty uses coconut substrate to support plant growth-this allows our urban farmers to grow a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. The largest pot configuration can accommodate up to 40 plants in less than one square meter, so you can grow fresh seasonal produce all year round.
It also has a digital interface that guides users through all the steps, from Assembly to harvesting:a virtual assistant named Hexbee, that shares advice and tricks to teach the cultivation and always grants success.
The pots of Poty are all made of recycled plastic. For cultivation, instead, the coconut substrate is included in the package, which is a recycled, durable and efficient material. It is a by-product of the coconut industry, therefore a waste material that would otherwise be thrown away, but it is very useful for growing because it has excellent drainage and resistance to disease. Compared to traditional soil, whose extraction threatens the ecosystem, coconut substrate is a much more sustainable solution. In addition, thanks to the design modularity of Poty, each component can be replaced or upgraded and thus ensure a long-lasting product life cycle.
How did you launch your brand?
We started with the Living Farming Tree in 2016, after being awarded among the finalists of the design Biomimicry Challenge We participated in several incubation and acceleration programs, always achieving excellent results, which allowed us to develop knowledge and skills to grow more and more. In the same year we launched pilot projects with the Living Farming Tree, and in 2020 with the addition of Poty to our catalog, we also decided to launch our e-commerce
What about the future?
Imagine a decentralized network where people can grow their favorite food or simply access the healthiest options for themselves. We want to bring nature and food to any space, making our cities more sustainable and resilient, and we want to allow anyone, anywhere, access to healthy food. To do this it is necessary to spread urban and vertical agriculture in each city. In our future there will be the commercialization of Living Farming Tree also to individuals and other international markets, and we start by participating in CES 2022 in Las Vegas, the largest consumer electronics fair in the world.