Innovation That Matters

The ecosystem kickstarter planter | Photo source Ecosystem Kickstarter

Cardboard planter improves subsistence food production


Honeycomb-shaped cardboard terraces hold seeds and nutrients to strengthen land vulnerable to soil erosion


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Spotted: Designed to restore degraded landscapes and conserve soil, the Ecosystem Kickstarter planter helps improve the fertility and resilience of local ecosystems. The honeycomb-shaped cardboard structure was created by Dutch designer Thom Bindels and counters desertification by reducing soil erosion. The portable ecosystem contains seeds and plant nutrients that support the crops sown within the structure.

As the plants grow, the cardboard biodegrades, further strengthening the ground and enriching the soil. Soil erosion is becoming a significant problem in agrarian communities worldwide, due to large scale overgrazing and deforestation. Many communities are experiencing longer droughts and more destructive rainfalls, which further exacerbates the degradation of the land.

Tested in Uganda during the rainy season, the Ecosystem Kickstarter’s feasibility study was a success. Bindels and his team work closely with local growers, adapting the structure’s size and the approach of the project to best support the surrounding farming community. By improving subsistence food production, they hope it will help the economic and environmental resilience of families and their wider communities.

Other methods spotted by Springwise for enriching soil include growing genetically modified plants that trap additional carbon dioxide, and ecological burials that do not use embalming fluid. 




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