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Tom commented on Urban Food Hubs Solution

Green WALLS are also a good option for vertical farming Rafael, and could provide much needed insulation to these often impermanent structures. Food for thought...


Tom commented on Urban Food Hubs Solution

Hey Chiome - I'm just going to add a few comments to Caroline's (hers being the primary for sure).

Firstly, for scaleability, the system should be modular and be able to operate on many size factors. This will also reduce the cost barrier with a smaller system and prototype being set up just for local people. We should be able to change the size of the system based on the requirements in the area and land required. Further, a small modular prototype is the fastest and most efficient way to test this product in the communities - a fundamental for human centred design and achieving the best product and iterating before commencing larger scale operations. A small modular structure could also allow different shapes and layout based on the slums structure, and water drainage dynamics/elevations. A modular structure will also allow it to be PORTABLE, a very important factor when considering impermanent and moving communities. We wouldn't want our first site to be stranded with fixed infrastructure only for it to become redundant as development progresses and the slum dwellers are kicked off their land (unless they are permanent, legal slums as our target market). 

If we start small and grow big this will also reduce the need to transport trucks in the first stages of design. 

Another consideration as Caroline mentions is the transient nature of these slums and their dwellers - and the often illegal land they sit on. A barrier to entry of improved houses here in the Indian slums is that they can't look "permanent". As soon as a landowner thinks that a permanent structure is being created they are not so happy.  They much prefer them to feel impermanent so they can take them over at a moments notice. If we buy our own land this won't be a problem, but buying land in cities is not the cheapest way to infiltrate our market.

I believe there will be a suitable slum with adequate land within the city (based on my experience mapping 3 tier two cities in India and over 1300 slums). We just have to find it. It would be important to map the slums and gain data and insights of our target market before we look to spend too much money on products. The consumers know best.

There is a lot more we need to define of course, this will come in time.


Tom commented on Urban Food Hubs Solution

Hey Brittany thank you so much for your comment and questions.

We would have to facilitate a wider discussion with the project team, so please take this response as my own thoughts based on my experience operating in similar environments in India and empowering locals.

Who would manage operations in the long term? The best outcome is to empower the local people themselves from the communities involved. While there is a high cost of capital depending on the system size, this can be paid off in produce - until the locals have fully paid for the system themselves. After they have paid for the system and our team has trained them to run/operate/maintain the system they can continue to service it themselves with local materials. In the short term we would provide the finance and the training to the locals until the can self sustain the model. They can then help us expand into new territories and become advocates for other systems.

What are the jobs they can transition to? Well there are many! Of course this experience will contribute to their CV and be applicable across many other jobs if they choose to shift. Otherwise they can continue with operations and management of the system themselves - or expand into offering servicing and other systems. The aim is to educate, train and empower the people so they make better business and financial decisions within their own lives and give them a taste of entrepreneurship so they can continue with their own ideas. (also at the heart of human centred design). 

Good questions and I hope we can flesh them out in later stages of the project a little more than my brief explanations here!