I very much appreciate the opportunity to share “my” Sweet Water business plan. It’s a complex one that I will offer in segments.
I will begin with my expectation begun back in 2005 that aquapaonics “bio-technology” experiments(local, small space, intensive,water conserving, and fish/plant producing)would inspire great interest and resources. As a board member of Will Allen’s Growing Power from 2005 thru 2010, and co-founder of Sweet Water Organics and the Sweet Water Foundation, I was an agent and sometimes astonished witnessed in the mainstreaming of urban agriculture and aquaponics. When the London “Economist” said Sweet Water’s partnership with the city and local universities was a prime example of “what’s right about America fixing what’s wrong,” and when Mayor Rahm Emanuel hosted a fund raiser for Sweet Water and gave our foundation’s executive director, Emmanuel Pratt, a platform to
share our story with 10 mayors, including Corrie Booker, my original “utopian visions” were exceeded by the facts. (We are scheduled to meet with Emmanuel Saturday around noon!).
Here’s a nice IBM film that captures the all-sector “Grand Alliance” that Sweet Water has inspired in its support.
I posited, in 2009, that a hybrid enterprise, a corporation and non-profit, aiming to
commercialize, democratize, and globalize this “bio-chemical engineering process,”
or “eco-system” approach to food production, was the most worthy business model
for this first-ever R & D project. The triple bottom line feature of Sweet Water, I correctly anticipated, would bring forth a significant amount of what I call “pro-bono genius” labor, especially engineers, microbiology and “water” scientists, legal, marketing, and other professionals required.
And I projected multiple income streams, knowing that Sweet Water was
growing a lot more than fish and produce in a mammoth factory building. We were growing experience for consulting, workshops, research partnerships with universities and related businesses, close in and on-line education, installations, tech support, eco-tourism, miniature aquaponics systems for schools, families, restaurants, elder care facilities, lecture tours, brand merchandise, and, finally, providing an inspired community gathering center, retail outlet, and innovation hub for complimentary enterprisers.
Sweet Water Organics, Inc. has primarily focused on the commercial scale production piece of the story. Here’s a TED talk in the UK by our consultant Charlie Price of Stirling University, whose design for Sweet Water Iteration 5 we expect will become the proof of concept system for cities we’re working with, e.g. Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, New York, Zurich, and Rotterdam.
to be continued…