Tell us about your invention? What problem does it solve?
Our product is called GrowStream™, an extremely efficient subsurface irrigation system that interacts with plants’ roots. The technology uses an understanding of plant physiology and organic chemistry to create a symbiotic relationship between plant roots, soil, and water. When crops and plants need water and nutrients, they emit root exudates that allow them to uptake what they need from the surrounding soil. GrowStream™ responds and interacts with these root exudates, allowing water and nutrients to be released from the billions of “smart micropores” in the GrowStream™ tubing. When the plant is satisfied, it stops producing root exudates- and GrowStream™ stops releasing water.
Our product is a solution for the ongoing water crisis, food sustainability, and soil regeneration. GrowStream™ has provided high-quality produce on farmland in California, and in poor soil conditions in Africa, Pakistan and the UAE, thus allowing communities in diverse environmental conditions to have a reliable source of crop production. It’s a much-needed solution for food scarcity and world hunger that continues to cripple our globe.
What was the inspiration for your invention?
My family, especially for my grandchildren. My husband and I have a large family with many grandchildren, whom we love and adore. Over the years, our generation had not always been good stewards of the planet’s resources. We felt that it was important to accept responsibility for the negative impact that mankind has had on the planet. And one day, when we leave this Earth, we’d like to leave it better than how we started it with, because we owe it to them. Our children and grandchildren are the next generation of thinkers, doers, and activists – if we can’t provide them with a safe environment to pursue their goals, how can they achieve them? We owe it to them to be better than we are, and it starts with making sure they have an Earth to give back to.
At what stage in the invention process are you?
GrowStream™ has already been created. From backyards in Los Angeles to farms in Portugal, Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria, and the UAE; RDI GrowStream™ is transforming agriculture and landscaping around the world.
What is the number one goal you have with regards to your invention?
With GrowStream™, our number one goal is to create awareness of the planet’s limited resources and utilize GrowStream™ and other new innovations to create improved methods and best practices that will provide not only a sustainable future, but also begin to regenerate these resources. GrowStream™ radically changes how we produce food through crop growing by maximizing our use of water rather than relying on agriculture practices that are harmful to the environment. Sadly, 33% of the world’s arable land has been lost over the last 40 years due to erosion or pollution. By using GrowStream™ farmers can save 30-50% more water versus drip to conserve our world’s most valuable resource.
Who is your product for (target market)?
Residential and commercial lawn and landscape areas, communities, cities, farms, etc. Our product can create green, livable cities that are sustainable, while increasing crop production on large commercial farms to small backyard gardens, so that food security for everyone is possible, using less water and fertilizers and rebuilding soil health.
How long did your invention take to get to this point (from the time you conceived of the idea to now)?
It has been a journey of nearly a decade. Initially research was performed in a lab setting. Trials moved to a small greenhouse, then expanded to a large commercial greenhouse and smaller outdoor field trials. Eventually, projects were initiated on commercial farms for comparative studies of the technology to current irrigation systems on the market. It was important to assess the system in the real world environment and then develop production equipment that could create a commercially viable product for the market.
When you had your idea, what was the first thing you did?
It was exciting to share the ideas with my husband and business partner, so we could brainstorm about the possibilities.
How did or are you funding the development of your invention?
I had previously owned a company that grew quickly and was acquired by an investment group. The funds from this sale have been used to develop the invention and take it to market.
Tell us about your background?
I have always felt a strong connection to nature. I grew up in a small community with a lot of farms. We always had our own backyard garden. Working with the land has always had a centering effect for me. My education and earlier career was focused in the medical field working as a nurse, case manager and life care planner. After the sale of my prior medical-consulting business, I wanted to dedicate my efforts toward preserving the natural resources of our planet to insure a future for young people. As my invention was researched and developed, I felt that it could have a dramatic impact on the world and the future. I believe that by working together, we can accomplish the impossible.
Who are your favorite inventors and why?
Marie Curie – her brilliance and perseverance against the inhibitions of her times, and after the loss of her husband, will always be a source of inspiration for women of all generations.
What is a typical day like for you?
Long days since we have expanded globally and are working with people in many countries that are in different time zones. The day starts at 6 am and often continues until 1 am the next day. I don’t consider my day as “work”, since I am involved in discussions with staff on research and new projects or engaged in presentations and meetings with companies and organizations about their needs and issues and exploring how our technology fits and can offer solutions. I have found so many people that share our mission to meet the challenges of world hunger, diminishing fresh water supplies, and climate change. It is a challenging and rewarding day to work with others that are passionate about making a difference and dedicated to creating an agricultural transformation and a sustainable future.
Who have been your role models, mentors, etc?
My parents, husband, children and grandchildren. My parents taught me the value of working hard and to the importance of striving to make a difference. My husband was the guiding light that supported my ideas and was always helping and mentoring people to help them reach their dreams. My children show me daily the importance of family and love. The grandchildren allow me to see the world through their eyes, always keeping its wonder and magic alive.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Globally, about 8.9% of the world’s population — 690 million people — go to bed on an empty stomach each night. Since 2014, the number of people affected by hunger has been slowly on the rise. If it continues at this rate, it’ll exceed 840 million by 2030. The coronavirus pandemic has only intensified the hunger crisis, and this year could be much worse. The World Food Program, the branch of the United Nations responsible for delivering lifesaving food assistance, expects to need to serve 138 million people this year — more than ever in its 60-year history. However, we can make food security a reality. To feed the 10B citizens of earth by 2050 while reducing the carbon impact of agriculture, GrowStream™ brings unmatched plant performance and yield to dramatically reduce water and fertilizer use. Our product requires no electronics, sensors, or controllers – making it easy to use and handle. It’s simple, but truly the smartest water efficient irrigation system ever made that can help our plant and feed our citizens.
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