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Ciela Plata, 'Sky to Plate' Regrind components for urban rooftop vegetable farm infrastructure

Irrigation recapture, safety surfaces & planter box liners empowering scale in onsite, urban rooftop, organic farm-to-table agriculture

Photo of Chuck D

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Ciela Plata: 'Sky to Plate'

Urban rooftop farming components made of compression-molded Regrind. The urban farm movement is gaining ground, increasing infrastructure opportunities for Regrind in circular material economies. 


Global trend

We're overfed and under-nourished. The 'Western Diet' is known to dramatically increase rates of: 

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Obesity

(Sources: Baum & Whiteman, 2018; O'Neil, 2017) 


NEED

In the next three decades: 

  • 70% of the world's population will live in cities 
  • Our food production will increase greenhouse gases by 80%


Many of us have started making healthier food choices, opting for a higher percentage of organic plant-based foods. Already, we've seen a 12x increase in sales of organic foods over the past 20 years (to $43 billion in 2015 alone). 

But the industrial agriculture behind the 'Western Diet' continues to prioritize refined sugars, factory farmed animal products, processed grains and fast food. Thus, organic food production lags significantly behind consumer demand. 


Opportunity

Urban rooftop farming can use thousands of acres of our built environment to bring more local, organic food production to more of us in many climates and geographies around the world. 

Ciela Plata aspires to empower scale in urban organic food production with rooftop organic vegetable farming components made of compression-molded Regrind: 

  • Safety surfaces for all-weather footing 
  • Seamless molded planter box liners 
  • Walkway matting to preserve roof integrity 
  • All-weather work surfaces 
  • Seamless molded liners for storage, transplant trays & transport totes 
  • Recapture trays for rain & irrigation runoff 


Ciela Plata sees a path to scale a local urban food supply, while reducing long-chain logistics, GMOs and diet-driven illness. 

Ciela Plata sees opportunity to fold our organic past into our urban present to improve our future health. 

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Outsoles
  • Rubber Flashings
  • Rubber Granulate
  • EVA Foam Injection Scraps
  • EVA Foam Flashings
  • EVA Foam Sheets & Blocks
  • EVA Foam Components
  • Laminated EVA Foam
  • Laminated PU Foam

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

Ciela Plata compression-molded component for urban rooftop farming bring large quantities of Regrind mat, work surfaces & roof protection panels to high-density office & residential buildings with onsite dining. Ciela Plata departs from the conventional single-lifecycle product mindset, and offers synergy & scale to urban rooftop farming. Ciela Plata compounds the circular economy NIKE GRIND strives for. LIFECYCLE EXAMPLE • 2018 NIKE GRIND becomes 2019 Ciela Plata components • 2019 Regrind reclamation returns to Ciela Plata material economy & earns user credit toward 2020 Ciela Plata components • Design of Ciela Plata components is user-driven, empathic and seasonal PARTNERS • Supply: NIKE GRIND materials • Manufacturing: Existing compression-molding vendors • Venues: High-density residential & commercial real estate with onsite dining; urban farm-to-table restaurants • Design: Urban farm architects and seasonal, local, user-driven design for urban rooftop farming that feeds onsite diners • Installation: Existing compression-molding installers & approved adhesives • Users: Onsite office workers, high-density housing residents, restaurant patrons PRODUCTION • Regrind transferred to compression-molding site (More NIKE GRIND reused) • Ciela Plata components compression-molded (More business for vendors) • Molded components to Ciela Plata site (More business for installers) • User-designed custom installation lifecycle (Empathic design = stronger UX) • Material reclamation to regrind for next lifecycle (Expanding circular economy & operating leverage) Ciela Plata components expand the market for compression-molded regrind, and helps scale urban rooftop farming. From the waste column to reuse in our built environment, scaling with increasing operating leverage.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

MATERIALS • Walk, Work & Wet Surfaces: Sheets of adhesive-bonded half-inch compression-molded Regrind • Containers & Components: Seamless, molded Regrind liners for planter beds and harvest crates

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

Ciela Plata empowers Scale in urban rooftop farming with potential to bring more local, organic food to people who spend their days in: • Office buildings with onsite dining • Urban schools & housing • Mixed-use zoning areas

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

The full aspiration of Ciela Plata is to empower sustainable, organic urban farming in cities around the world. Ciela Plata is pursuing partnerships with a Regrind molding vendor and urban farm architects to launch a pilot program installation at a Portland corporate office with onsite organic dining. Target launch market scales to include high-density commercial and residential buildings. Ciela Plata will leverage an increasingly growing Regrind material economy and partnerships with existing vendors in manufacture & installation of compression-molded surfaces. BENEFITS OF SCALE • More NIKE GRIND reused • More business for compression-molding vendors • More business for compression-molded material installers • Material reclamation for next lifecycle expands circular economy • More local, plant-based whole foods in more urban communities worldwide

How is your idea innovative?

Ciela Plata advances rooftop farming infrastructure, empowering scale for urban organic farming: • Adds new use cases for repeated reclamation & repurposing of more Regrind material in more non-sports venues. • Reduces material cost to make new rooftop farms and retrofit projects more sustainable & affordable. • Creates new opportunities for rooftop farming with a circular economy of Regrind components. • Brings more business to compression-molding vendors & Regrind installers

What inspired this idea?

• Asking: What new uses can deploy more Regrind? • Asking: What venues can replace virgin materials with Regrind? • Research into urban rooftop farming • Onsite farm-to-table organic restaurants • Design experience in a university Architecture program • The Nike Grind challenge to innovate

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

Design background includes 5 years in Architectural Design studios and university Architecture program. Project Manager with diverse brand & creative experience. Conversation with array of makers and food producers to inform Regrind use cases.

In what city are you located?

Portland

In what country are you located?

US

What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)

Sole Proprietor

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

• Material kit for full-scale Ciela Plata prototypes & pilot installation. • Additional guidance, resources & collaboration toward a pilot program Ciela Plata installation at a Portland office building with onsite dining. • Momentum toward launching a startup supporting healthy alternatives to the Western Diet, leveraging sustainable materials to impove air quality, food quality, and quality of life at work.

23 comments

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Spam
Photo of Chuck D
Team

Hi Robert Smith Bryant Chu Shannon VanValkenburg Aakar Mehra -- As promised, letting you know that I uploaded a handful of new storyboards and diagrams last week to my proposal for Ciela Plata, 'Sky to Plate' urban rooftop vegetable farming components 

I'm still working on a few details, and I'm interested in your insights on the new illustrations since our last conversation. Any thoughts?

cc: Peter Lowe 

Spam
Photo of Chuck D
Team

Hello again, I've uploaded a new component detail storyboard to Ciela Plata, 'Sky to Plate' urban rooftop vegetable farming components Any thoughts?

Spam
Photo of Bryant Chu
Team

Hey Chuck Dye , you weren't kidding about adding more diagrams :P. I may have missed this in the illustrations, but I'm still wondering how each specific material might be used if you zoom in on the components--and even better--why.

For example, if you were bringing one of your product concepts to the compression molder, how would you explain it to them? Is it a homogeneous mixture? Layered or patterned in some way? Are you taking advantage of the different material properties to help with performance?

Spam
Photo of Chuck D
Team

Hello again Bryant Chu -- The Ciela Plata, 'Sky to Plate' urban rooftop vegetable farming components proposal calls for rubber granulate & foam with the compression-molding methods that date back into the 1990s. As for your 'Why' questions, you'll find many of those answers in the Global Trend and Need sections of the summary, and in the green text on the Component Detail diagram in the Prototype section.

Thanks again for your guidance on diagraming over the past week or so since your team joined the challenge. I appreciate your recommendations and hope to cross paths again in the months ahead.

Spam
Photo of Efren Garcia Caraveo
Team

Hello Chuck Dye 
This is a really great idea, explored by urbanists and architects Rooftop gardens is a way to explore alternative ways of farming in the city and also creating the buildings comfortable microclimate.
I'm just curious to know the system and components of the stacked planter beds, or maybe you could upload an image that explains the principal component of this idea, which are the planter beds that will give the citizens the opportunities to farm vegetables.

Spam
Photo of Chuck D
Team

Hi Efren Garcia Caraveo -- I'll work on a component storyboard to address your question. Meantime, the short answer is planter beds have been devised as you point out by urban farmers and rooftop garden architects. Ciela Plata, 'Sky to Plate' urban rooftop vegetable farming components isn't meant to reinvent planter beds or rooftop farming but to advance their sustainability and functionality by incorporating Regrind components. I'll ping you here when I upload those detail diagrams. Meantime, any additional thoughts or questions on this project?

Spam
Photo of Chuck D
Team

Hello again Efren Garcia Caraveo -- I uploaded a component detail storyboard to address your question. Any thoughts on the new Ciela Plata, 'Sky to Plate' urban rooftop vegetable farming components diagram?

Spam
Photo of Vinamre Dhar
Team

Hey I really like your design work, could we connect on email and i could really use some help.
Contact me at vinamre1067@gmail.com . Thanks :D

Spam
Photo of Chuck D
Team

Hi Vinamre Dhar -- Wow, that's a very flattering request! What specifically are you requesting?

Spam
Photo of Vinamre Dhar
Team

Yeah i general terms of presenting data - do you use a particular software?

Spam
Photo of Chuck D
Team

Hi Vinamre Dhar -- For this project, my toolset isn't too high-tech. I've done some hand-drawn diagrams and incorporated photos & maps with the desktop publishing mode of Pages on a Mac. Robert Smith and Bryant Chu have strong diagrams in this challenge and shared some notes with me about their software and techniques in the comments on their projects. Their recommendations might be helpful to you too. Is that a start on the information you're looking for?

Spam
Photo of Mark Kazemzadeh
Team

If you design the planters as vertical hydroponic towers, you can maximize your footprint and produce a significantly higher yield.

Spam
Photo of Chuck D
Team

Hi Mark Kazemzadeh -- Thanks for your suggestion! It approaches part of the vision for Ciela Plata, urban rooftop vegetable farming components and it looks like an even stronger fit for Shannon VanValkenburg 's hydroponic garden project here. Do you have recommendations to share with her too?

Also, I'd appreciate any insights you have on my proposal ArtWall interior surfaces for design studios & art classrooms 
https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/nike-design-with-grind/ideas/nike-grind-artwall
Any thoughts to share in a comment there?

Spam
Photo of Cherry
Team

I agree Mark

Spam
Photo of Robert Smith
Team

Hi Chuck Dye ,

Interesting proposal for use of an alternative material for components in a growing industry.

It will be important to understand how building codes affect your design (weight-bearing structure, trapped rainwater, interactions with other equipment, such as HVAC, that typically get installed on roofs). How does the weight of NikeGrind compare to other films or molded components?

You discuss the use of NikeGrind material for the containers, are there opportunities for circular economy components for the rest of the system (pumps, channels, tubing, fittings, sensors, controls, etc)? Perhaps some reuse from other industries?

Good luck! -Robert

Spam
Photo of Chuck D
Team

Thanks for your insights Robert Smith -- As usual you're spot on! I agree that weight & protection of roof integrity are two of the top concerns.

I've been in touch with a compression-molding exec for research on ArtWall interior surfaces for design studios & art classrooms and I'll most definitely address your question about weight comparison between Nike Grind and the other crumb rubber sources used in compression-molding.

To your questions on circularity:
- Pumps, tubing, fittings, sensors & controls are less viable for using large volumes of Regrind, so my focus is on the larger components & surfaces that can have a greater circular impact.
- Regrind CAN offer some uses in optimizing those smaller components though. I'm working on diagrams of stacked planter beds that create self-contained mini greenhouse environments, rain & irrigation runoff recapture troughs, walkway surfaces for roof protection, etc. I'll ping you here as I upload those illustrations to Ciela Plata, urban rooftop vegetable farming components 

Meantime, do you have ideas for repurposing pumps, fittings, sensors, etc. from other industries into urban farming?

Also, I'm happy to return the favor. Have you made any updates to your proposals that you'd like me to review?

Spam
Photo of Bryant Chu
Team

Hey Chuck Dye , seems like our contest moderators have been encouraging more detail in the section that describes how materials will be incorporated into our solutions. I get the impression that this means getting into mfg, which could be a good addition to the system diagram.

Spam
Photo of Chuck D
Team

Hi Bryant Chu -- Thanks for your recommendation. This proposal for Ciela Plata, urban rooftop vegetable farming components is a work in progress. I just uploaded the first two of my storyboards: Global Trend and Urban Farming Viability. Any thoughts on those storyboards?

I'll also ping you here when I upload diagrams on the points you mentioned about component design & how Regrind will be incorporated. Meantime, I see the notification with your question on your team's proposal so I'll pop over there next and return the favor my feedback. Thanks again!

Spam
Photo of Chuck D
Team

Hi Shannon VanValkenburg & Jurijs Kovzels -- Seeing some synergies between your proposals and my project Ciela Plata, urban rooftop vegetable farming components 

I’m interested in your insights on my proposal:
https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/nike-design-with-grind/ideas/rooftop-garden-components-with-nike-grind
Any insights to share in a comment here?

Spam
Photo of Shannon VanValkenburg
Team

Hi Chuck Dye 
I think your proposal opens up new avenues and insights, and actually helps me realize how I can refine my own idea. Personally, I've been having some trouble expressing more detailed explanations to my proposal, and seeing how you've approached your idea is giving me some inspiration.
You seem to have more experience building business proposals, so I have a question for you: how do you approach reaching out to manufactures for their insights? I don't have any connections in manufacturing, so I've been unsure how to initiate contact and inquire professional advice. How have you been doing so to obtain information for your proposal? Not just manufactures too, but with necessary business stakeholders?
I look forward to hearing from you.

Spam
Photo of Chuck D
Team

Hi Shannon VanValkenburg -- Thanks for your reply and such great questions!

Like you, I feel my proposals are works in progress at this stage of the challenge. I'll ping you here as I update with the additional diagrams & illustrations I'm working on. Meantime, is there a particular topic in your proposal that you have specific questions about? A skill set or connection where I can potentially help?

Also like you, I see a synergy between our proposals without competitive overlap. An installation of your products could strengthen an installation of mine and vice-versa. So, it would be great if we can keep in touch throughout our pursuit of these projects and potentially both be in a stronger position for it. Any thoughts?

Regarding business proposal creation: My experience includes Branding & Marketing for startups and F500 execs, with additional training in Architectural Design.

To your questions, there are many entrances to the path toward making those connections. Examples:
- The manufacturer I'm in touch with for my two proposals in this challenge is an exec who responded to my research-call voicemail about my questions on his products & molding capabilities for Ciela Plata, urban rooftop vegetable farming components 
- On the other hand, the Director of the program that agreed to negotiate hosting a pilot program installation of my proposed ArtWall interior surfaces for design studios & art classrooms is someone I've known for years and consulted for in the past
- A business proposal / pitch deck is nearly always involved at some point in reaching out to manufacturers, investors, business partners, etc. But other than general business etiquette and having some command of your subject matter, there's no rule about how that conversation starts.

Bottom line, I think it always comes down to finding some way to reach out & start a conversation: Meet the right contact at a networking event, make a cold-call with research questions, reach out to people promoting related causes here on OpenIDEO. Any thoughts?

Spam
Photo of Aakar Mehra
Team

Hi Chuck Dye ,

I think its a cool idea to do vegetable farming on rooftops. Its a great use of space and natural resources.
In this specific contribution I think I am unable to follow how exactly the grind material would be used in this project. I am assuming you will add that part soon. On one of the ideas that you got the inspiration from, I suggested them to look into doing some quick prototyping with rubber/foam mats and see how they hold water over a long duration of time. The material might start getting some fungus growth after a while.
Overall I feel that someone will have to produce a system that will allow for this process to fully get adapted. Finding the right partners will be critical to put the pieces together. Have you talked with someone who could provide the channel for this system?
I hope this is helpful, looking to see this idea evolve.
Aakar

Spam
Photo of Chuck D
Team

Hi Aakar Mehra -- Thanks for your feedback and notes! I posted questions to your trash collection sieve proposal.

I agree that the Ciela Plata, urban rooftop vegetable farming components proposal can gain clarity from additional diagrams and illustrations. I continue to work on those as time permits and will ping you here when I add to to the proposal, as I value your engineering expertise.

To your questions:
- I'm proposing molded Regrind surfaces to reclaim rain & irrigation runoff. For this rooftop farming use case I'm not proposing a Sponge City water holding function for the Regrind materials. Reclamation & channeling of water to protect the roof, but not water containment with Regrind.
- I've been in touch throughout the challenge with Regrind compression-molding vendors about their techniques and use/reuse parameters.
- Being that I've chosen architectural projects for my proposals here, I've also been in contact with owners & property managers of the types of buildings in the target markets for my respective proposals.

Thanks again for your interest & feedback on my proposals. I agree that partnering with the right skill sets will be important for transitioning into pilot programs and then launch markets.
- For Ciela Plata, urban rooftop vegetable farming components my shopping list for partnership includes a Product Engineer and a CAD or Autodesk Drafter.
- For ArtWall interior surfaces for design studios & art classrooms I have partnerships in discussion with a compression-molding vendor and the building owner for a pilot program installation.

What skill sets are you looking to partner with for your proposals?