May 15, 2018
Purdue Hydroponic Startup Earns Award By Jasmina Dolce

Have you heard of Heliponix LLC? If not, you may want to pay attention. Founded by two Purdue University graduates — Scott Massey and Ivan Ball — this new startup aims to redefine “farm to table” with its GroPod.

GroPod is a dishwasher-sized device that fits right under a kitchen counter and can grow produce year-round. It uses aeroponics, a form of hydroponics that mists plant roots rather than submerging the roots in a reservoir.

Massey and Ball recently received the Best New Tech Product award from TechPoint, Indiana’s technology growth initiative, during the 19th annual Mira Awards.

“It’s an incredible honor to receive recognition for our technology that truly benefits consumers and the environment,” said Ball. “We want to change food production amid looming worldwide food shortages and growing concerns about food pesticides.”

Mira Awards judges called Heliponix a “category killer” with significant opportunity to capture a large share of the global vertical farming market, a nearly billion-dollar industry.

To learn more about Heliponix and the GroPod, click here.

— Jasmina

Contain Inc and InterWest to Offer Insurance for Container Farmers

With indoor agriculture becoming one of the fastest-growing practices in global farming, it is increasingly important that indoor farmers gain access to financial tools utilized by their outdoor counterparts. Contain Inc and InterWest Insurance recently announced they are joining forces to offer a first-of-its-kind collaborative insurance. Indoor growers have different insurance needs, as their operations rely on climate control equipment. Their first product is targeted at container farmers and offers a “one stop shop” package for their insurance needs. For additional information, go to

Connecticut Aquaponics Grower Becomes YouTube Star

Bigelow Brook Farms, based in a small, rural community in northeastern Connecticut, recently surpassed 62,000 YouTube followers. Rob Torcellini, owner and operator built his polycarbonate geodesic dome greenhouse by hand and now grows plants like root vegetables, Swiss chard, cucumbers, basil and thyme. While many aquaponics growers choose tilapia as their base fish, Torcellini uses koi as they are better suited to survive cold water temperatures. The farm is currently a one-man operation and its only revenue source is through YouTube ads, sale of shale media for grow beds and sale of plant holders for hydroponic/aquaponic growing. “Once we get the new greenhouse up and running, the goal is to sell the produce to resellers and direct to restaurants,” said Torcellini.

Indoor Farming Tech Market Projected to Grow

According to a recent report on the global forecast of indoor farming through 2022, the indoor farming technology market was valued at $25.4 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow to $40.25 billion by 2022. The report categorizes indoor farming as growing systems and structures, from urban and small-scale farming to highly controlled and semi-automated systems — resulting in the production of more than triple the yield compared to traditional farming within the same area of land. The report credits changing weather conditions as one of the major factors driving the growth of the indoor farming category. To download the report, click here.

Jasmina Dolce

Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at